Bad weather forces postponement of Olympic men's downhill
The running of the most prestigious Olympic alpine event, the men's downhill, had to be postponed Saturday because of warm weather and deteriorating snow conditions on the course at Whistler Creekside.
This was not a surprise to anyone who has spent the last few days in Whistler, Canada, where it has rained much more than it has snowed.
The men's downhill will now take place Monday at 10:30 a.m. The women's combined, originally scheduled for Sunday, was postponed Saturday because the racers had not yet been able to complete at least one training run, as required.
Weather postponements are not unusual in Olympic ski racing. The downhill at the 1998 Nagano games was raced five days after originally scheduled.
If the men's downhill can be raced Sunday, the women's combined probably will be moved to Monday, an open date on the alpine schedule. The men's combined is scheduled for Tuesday, with the women's downhill on Wednesday.
The postponements have played to the huge advantage of American star Lindsey Vonn, who entered the games not knowing whether she could compete after bruising her shin Feb. 2 on a training run in Austria.
"I think I'm lucking out pretty heavily," Vonn said Friday after the training run for the combined was canceled for a second straight day.
Vonn, a medal contender in five events, has not yet had to test her shin in racing conditions, although she has done some free skiing and did a course inspection Friday. "Normally I would be disappointed about the cancellations. But for my shin, I think this is the best possible scenario. This gives me more time to rest up and heal."
-- Chris Dufresne in Whistler
Photo: The men's downhill case. Credit: Mirko Guariello, EPA.