Women’s downhill training canceled

It’s another Alpine weather wipeout: Women’s downhill training

won’t go on as planned Sunday because of heavy rain and snow.

It’s the third women’s training session that has been called off

at the Vancouver Games. Continued warm temperatures, mixed with

snow, rain and fog have wreaked havoc with the Alpine schedule, and

both the men and the women have yet to hold a race.

The women’s downhill race – American Lindsey Vonn’s top event –

is scheduled for Wednesday, leaving only two more days for training

runs to take place. Rules require that at least one training

session be held before a downhill race can begin.

The weather has forced organizers to quickly rearrange the

Alpine races. Originally scheduled to open the games on Saturday,

the men’s downhill was moved to Monday and the women’s

super-combined has been shifted from Sunday to Thursday, creating a

block of seven consecutive races in seven days.

With its location close to the Pacific Ocean, Whistler is known

for its bad weather but organizers say drier and cooler air is on

the way starting Monday. Still, all the rain and warm weather this

week has deteriorated the downhill runs into a mushy mess and it

could take some time to restore the courses into suitable condition

safe enough for high-speed racing.

“They’ve got some challenges because the top of the hill has

been receiving snow, the middle has been a mixture of snow and

rain, and the bottom has been pouring rain,” U.S. men’s head coach

Sasha Rearick said. “Three different approaches they need to take

on the hill, and they’ve been applying that very well.”

Vonn is one of the few skiers pleased with all the delays,

because it gives her bruised right shin more time to heal.