SOCHI SCENE: From ski racing to revving engines

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Associated Press

Posted on February 8, 2014 at 11:32 AM

Updated Saturday, Feb 8 at 11:36 AM

KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia (AP) — American skier Jacqueline Wiles simply enjoys the feel of "the wind in my face." No wonder her two passions are racing and riding her motorcycle.

"I just like speed," Wiles said.

And while she doesn't balk at going around 70 mph on the race hill, that kind of speed on a bike is a little daunting.

"I just feel a little safer on a racer course," said Wiles, a rookie on the World Cup circuit. "Maybe because on a course, things are blocked off."

The 21-year-old from Portland, Ore., went pretty fast in an Olympic downhill training run on Saturday, finishing in fourth place. She did miss a few gates, so it technically really didn't count. Still, it was "exciting to see my name up there. That's cool."

Wiles' performance helped her earn one of the four U.S. downhill spots for the race on Wednesday. Also on the squad are Julia Mancuso, Stacey Cook and Laurenne Ross.

"This is the best skiing of my life right now," Wiles said.

— Pat Graham — Twitter http://twitter.com/pgraham34

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Associated Press reporters will be filing dispatches about happenings in and around Sochi during the 2014 Winter Games. Follow AP journalists covering the Olympics on Twitter: http://apne.ws/1c3WMiu

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