SOCHI SCENE: Slalom through drama

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Associated Press

Posted on February 21, 2014 at 1:35 PM

Updated Friday, Feb 21 at 2:03 PM

KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia (AP) — After crossing the finish line on her first slalom run, Lebanon's Jacky Chamoun waved her ski poles as if she had just won a medal.

Turns out, a race was just the distraction she needed after topless photos surfaced of her on the Internet.

Chamoun wasn't the fastest in her opening run Friday night — she was 23.43 seconds behind leader Mikaela Shiffrin — but Chamoun sure made up for it in gusto as she celebrated making it through the tricky course setting.

"I'm so happy to be here. It's a great feeling to participate," the 22-year-old said.

Chamoun said after her run that she didn't give the off-the-slopes drama a second thought. Shortly after she arrived in Sochi, behind-the-scenes footage from a calendar shoot three years ago was posted online.

That prompted a Lebanese government official to order an investigation. The implication was that Chamoun had somehow harmed the country's reputation.

"Small things aren't going to disturb me, even if it was a big story in the country," Chamoun said. "For me, I just continue. It's not a big obstacle."

Chamoun talked about the video incident with photographer Hubertus Von Hohenlohe, the German prince and skier who will compete in his sixth Olympics for Mexico on Saturday. She said he apologized and that it's "not his fault."

She also said many in Lebanon have offered support through Facebook.

"They're telling me, 'We don't need you to medal. We don't need you to win. We're just glad you represent the country and you do it very well,'" Chamoun said. "A lot of them are proud of me and are happy to see me."

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

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Associated Press reporters are 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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