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Ligety, skiers upset with new rules on GS skis

By Pat Graham

Associated Press

Published: Wednesday, Nov. 30 2011 8:06 p.m. MST

"Maybe if I quit next spring, I don't have to race on that," said Cuche, who had the top time in training Wednesday. "If I continue, then I'll try to do my best to adapt myself for that."

For Miller, the rule change is pushing him toward the door. Skiing is all about feel, about finding a rhythm on the course. With the new shape of the GS skis, Miller isn't sure the enjoyment will be there.

"I ski because I like to ski a certain way," said Miller, who was fourth in downhill training, 0.26 seconds behind Cuche. "If they change that, so I can't ski the way I want to, because the equipment doesn't allow it, doesn't allow you to do the things you want to do, I probably won't race anymore."

Miller was recently appointed the athletes' representative, giving him a voice in ski-related matters with FIS. Like on Tuesday, when he raised safety concerns over a feature on the Birds of Prey course and it led the jury to cancel that day's training run to fix it.

But he thought the title was more political than anything, especially since he's been so critical of the new regulations.

"They pumped my tires," Miller said. "They admired how well it worked (Tuesday) and how awesome and smooth everything is. All of a sudden, everything seems disarmed."

Only, it's still a contentious issue.

FIS didn't come by these rule changes lightly, Hujara insisted. They were imposed after a lengthy injury research project involving scientists and experts from all over.

"It wasn't a decision that was made in one hour, one day, or even one month. It's a three-year project," Hujara said. "For sure we listen to our athletes."

Some wish it would've been more.

"When you talk to those scientists, they're obviously good scientists, but they're not skiers," Norway's Aksel Lund Svindal said. "They'll claim it's only a matter of a few millimeters here and there and it's not a big difference.

"But if you talk to a ski racer, it's a big difference."

That's why Ligety refuses to back down, fighting for his GS skis to the bitter end.

"If this goes through, it will kill the sport," Ligety said. "Mark my words, it will kill GS."

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