Heavy Snow Postpones Women's Final DH


March 9, 2005

LENZERHEIDE, Switzerland (AP by Erica Bulman)--The final women's World Cup downhill of the season was postponed Wednesday by heavy snowfall and was rescheduled for early Thursday.

A men's training session slated for Wednesday afternoon was also scrapped and moved to Thursday afternoon, about 1 1/2 hours before the actual race, as officials struggled with limited time opportunities remaining this week.

Both the women's and men's final downhill were originally slated for Wednesday, but bad weather all week has made a mess of the program.

The finals end Sunday but no races have been held.

International Ski Federation safety regulations stipulate that at least one official practice is required in order to stage a downhill.

Defending women's champion Renate Goetschl of Austria leads the discipline standings with 467 points, 32 ahead of Hilde Gerg of Germany. Michaela Dorfmeister of Austria is third, 75 points behind, while Lindsey Kildow of the United States is fourth, trailing by 83.

Michael Walchhofer leads the men's standings with 631 points, 93 ahead of overall leader Bode Miller.

Miller can claim the title by winning the final downhill, providing the Austrian scores fewer than seven points. That is not impossible since Walchhofer is nursing a sore knee from a high-speed crash in the downhill in Kvitfjell, Norway, last weekend.

Miller also needs the race to take place if he wants to hold Austrian Benjamin Raich off in the chase for the overall title.Only one race in each discipline _ downhill, super giant slalom, slalom and giant slalom _ remain at the World Cup finals for both men and women.

The top 25 skiers in each discipline are invited to compete at the finals, in addition to the junior world champion.

Copyright © 2005 The Associated Press