Winter Olympics: Men's downhill pushed to Monday due to high winds


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.

The severe conditions caused organizers to shuffle other parts of the Alpine skiing schedule.

The FIS jury and the local organizers later decided that the event will be moved to 11 a.m. Thursday, while the men's super-G will be pushed to 11:00 a.m. Friday.

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Waldner has already said that if the race can not be run it will be moved to Monday, weather permitting.

Weather disruptions are commonplace in Alpine skiing both on the World Cup circuit and at the Olympics, and organisers always give themselves plenty of room for adjustments.

In a race that is purely man, or woman, versus mountain, downhill skiers tactfully dodge marked gates in the slope's fastest race.

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Winds in PyeongChang may reach 19 miles per hour, according to The Weather Channel.

Strong gusts could create inequitable conditions for the giant slalom, possibly giving one racer a powerful wind at her back and forcing another to ski into a stiff uphill wind. The high level of risk for athletes produces high reward, as it has fans squirming in their seats as athletes squeeze past the gates.

"We kind of expected this downhill to be postponed due to wind", said Sasha Rearick, the United States' head Alpine coach.

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Rearick said racers now have to "harness (energy), stay relaxed, and then be able to ramp back up".