February 10, 2007
ARE, Sweden (Feb. 10) – Poor visibility at the top of the course forced organizers Saturday to postpone the men’s downhill for a day, creating a doubleheader Sunday with the men and women competing in the high-speed showcase event at the 2007 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships.
The new schedule calls for the men to race Sunday at 4 a.m. ET with the women, as originally planned, at 6:30 a.m. ET.
NBCSports.com and MediaZone.com are providing live coverage of every race through the end of the championships on Feb. 18. There also is live interval timing available at http://livetiming.usskiteam.com.
“It came in and out, and the visibility got better from the mid-station down, but we couldn’t have run, even if they ran it from a lower start,” Men’s Head Coach Phil McNichol said. “Hopefully, we’ll get a good window tomorrow and be able to race.”
Bode Miller (Bretton Woods, NH) is the defending downhill world champion from Bormio, Italy, in 2005. He will be joined by Steven Nyman (Provo, UT), Scott Macartney (Redmond, WA) and Marco Sullivan (Squaw Valley, CA).
In the women’s race, Lindsey Kildow (Vail, CO) – silver medalist Tuesday in super G, Julia Mancuso (Olympic Valley, CA) – the Olympic giant slalom champion who collected silver Friday in super combined, Stacey Cook (Mammoth Mountain, CA) and Kirsten Clark (Raymond, ME) are scheduled to compete.
A final women’s training run Saturday morning also was a casualty of the fog and poor visibility. Even though the women race on a different part of the mountain, all courses have the same finish area.
The lost race is the third event postponed on the two weekends as the championships returned to Are for the first time since 1954; a week ago, continued winds and snows forced postponements in the men’s and women’s super G title races until Tuesday.
Bitter cold, often below zero, since then has replaced the winds and snow, but the fog handcuffed organizers – and racers – Saturday. A women’s downhill training run before the men’s start, scheduled for 6:30 a.m. ET, and pushed back to 7:45 a.m. – and eventually postponed at 7:15 a.m., was scrubbed without a forerunner or racer getting on course.
Once the opening weekend’s two races were lost, organizers regrouped – and the weather softened. Races had gone off without a hitch until Saturday; however, organizers – and sponsors – have now lost three blocs of television with major weekend viewership.