Three skiing events, including the blue-riband men's downhill, have been postponed as damp and foggy weather continued to disrupt the opening days of the Winter Olympics. Yesterday's men's downhill and today's women's super-combined downhill and super-combined slalom events were called off after the skiers' training runs had to be cancelled.
The first victim of the weather, the women's super-combined downhill, had been scheduled for this morning. The event can take place only if a downhill training run has been completed and that was not possible on Friday, with priority given to the first men's race, the downhill - which was then postponed later in the day. "There will be no training so the race will have to be rescheduled," Atle Skaardal, the women's race director of the International Ski Federation (FIS), said of the women's downhill. "No new date has been set yet."
The delay was good news for the American Lindsey Vonn, a strong favourite to win the race. It will give her an extra day to recover from the shin injury which had put her participation in the Games in doubt. She said: "Obviously, I was looking forward to running the course but for me at the moment I think this is the best possible scenario because it gives me that little bit more time to rest my leg."
The weather, which had forced Games organisers to bring in tons of snow by helicopter and lorry, continued to play havoc with training. The final men's downhill training run was cancelled because of fog and slushy snow, the result of rain and warm temperatures. The women, meanwhile, had to make do with an inspection of the run. The women had also been unable to train on Thursday and their Friday sessions were twice delayed before being called off.
The men were resigned to their big race probably not taking place until tomorrow. "It is important to get a colder temperature - at the moment they [officials] think we have a better chance for Monday," Michael Walchhofer, the Austrian skier said. "It's not looking good. The upper part is very wet at the moment. It was best we didn't do training [because] if just a few went down they would have destroyed it."
Elsewhere at the Games, Brazil's hopes of competing in the women's bobsleigh ended when the Court of Arbitration for Sport turned down their request to replace Ireland. The court rejected a claim by the Brazilian Ice Sports Federation that Ireland had been wrongly admitted to the event by the International Bobsleigh and Tobogganing Federation. * With agencies