Winter Olympics 2018: Strong winds postpone first alpine skiing event

Matthias Mayer

The prospects of the men's downhill being run as scheduled looked bleak on Saturday with gusting winds of up to 39 knots (72 kilometres per hour) forecast for the Jeongseon Alpine Centre when the Olympic programme gets underway on Sunday.

If organizers are not able to stage the race by the end of Wednesday, the downhill will replace the men's Super G in the schedule with the other speed race moving to Friday, now a rest day.

Norwegian Kjetil Jansrud posted the second best time after benefiting from tail-winds and said maintaining the integrity of the competition was paramount if the race needed to be rescheduled.

"Today was right at the limit but okay for a training run", Waldner said. The downhill start is at 4,495 feet altitude.

It was to be the first medal awarded in alpine skiing.

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The downhill training for the men's combined event scheduled for Monday has also been cancelled.

Gusting winds of up to 39 knots (72 kilometres per hour) have been forecast for Sunday through until Tuesday at Jeongseon, well past the point at which the gondola that moves the skiers to the top of the mountain can not function.

At the 2017 world championships, held in St. Moritz, Switzerland, the men's downhill was delayed by one day and then started lower down the mountain because of fog.

"If we can have the reserve days and wait out for an optimal day, it would be ideal", said Bryce Bennett of the United States, who was sixth-fastest Friday.

"The message we got is that they want to do the downhill from the top in fair conditions", said the 2014 Olympic Super G champion.

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