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Men's downhill skiing postponed at 2010 Olympic Games

Bad weather at Whistler
Bad weather has caused havoc with preparations at Whistler

The men's downhill skiing, the flagship event of the Winter Olympics, has been postponed by two days because of slushy conditions on the course.

Heavy snow, rain and fog, combined with rising temperatures, have made the Whistler track unfit for racing.

The competition was scheduled to take place on Saturday, the first full day of the Vancouver 2010 Games.

The event will now be staged on Monday when the weather conditions are expected to have improved.

The poor weather in Whistler has been giving organisers a headache all week and had already caused the postponement of the women's super-combined skiing.

Only one of six training runs for men and women has been completed as planned.

The first men's downhill training session on Wednesday was abandoned because of fog, while a shortened session was held on Thursday and no practice was possible on Friday.


Only two skiers started the opening women's training on Thursday before it too was abandoned.

Italian Lucia Recchia of Italy made it safely down, but the second skier, American Stacey Cook, lost control and smashed into the safety netting at high speed.

Whistler's notoriously poor weather has already forced International Ski Federation officials to remove the venue from the World Cup calendar after a number of events were cancelled.

The rescheduling is the latest blow to an event which is starting under a cloud after the death of a Georgian luge competitor Nodar Kumaritashvili.

The 21-year-old died after his sled flipped and he smashed into a steel pole at the Whistler Sliding Centre.

With star competitors such as Switzerland's Didier Cuche, American Bode Miller and Michael Walchhofer of Austria, the men's downhill was to be the highlight of the opening day.

Other events include the moguls, where ladies defending champion Jennifer Heil is vying to be first Canadian to win a gold medal at the Vancouver Games - and a first for Canada following a failure to win gold in the last two home Olympics - with 18-year-old Ellie Koyander going for Britain.

Other Britons in action include Sarah Lindsay and Elise Christie in the ladies short-track 500m speed skating, while Anthony Douglas goes in the 1500m.

The luge is set to go ahead at 1700 local time with the start brought down to the lower women's start. Britain's hopes will rest with Adam Rosen.

Men's downhill

Olympic Men's Downhill contenders (UK users only)

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see also
Georgian pulls out of luge event
14 Feb 10 |  Luge
Olympic luger dies after crashing
13 Feb 10 |  Luge
Olympics open after luge tragedy
13 Feb 10 |  Vancouver 2010
Winter Olympics photos
12 Feb 10 |  Vancouver 2010

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