SOCHI SCENE: Hard on himself

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KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia (AP) - Even Stefan Luitz called himself an idiot.

The German skier tripped over the very last gate in the Olympic giant slalom on Wednesday, tumbling across the finish line as one of his skis flew off.

As he lay on the snow, disqualified for straddling that final gate, one thought struck him.

“You idiot,” he said.

Luitz had a smooth performance going, too, and would’ve been the second-fastest on the course heading into the final run. He would’ve been a strong medal contender in an event that Ted Ligety of the United States won by a 0.48-second margin over Steve Missillier of France.

“Happens,” Luitz said.

Really? Has that happened to him before?

“No, it’s the first time,” Luitz said.

His teammates were flummoxed by his late fall, with his Sochi roommate Felix Neureuther calling it “unbelievable” and “unreal.”

“Something like that happens, it’s without words definitely,” Neureuther said.

Ligety felt a bad for Luitz.

“An unfortunate mistake,” Ligety said. “That’s super disappointing for him. … It actually happens a little bit, especially when it’s so flat like this and you’re fully in your tuck and you’re trying to take a fast line. It’s easy to get your skis bumped around.”

Luitz is trying not to think about what might’ve been had he not struggled with that last gate.

“I straddled,” he said, “and it’s over.”

- By Pat Graham - Twitter http://twitter.com/pgraham34

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