High wind gusts postpone women's downhill to today

Street `not disappointed'

crowd of 25,000 turns out

Winter Olympics

Salt Lake City 2002

February 12, 2002|By Kevin Van Valkenburg | Kevin Van Valkenburg,SUN STAFF

ODGEN, Utah - Picabo Street has waited a long time to get one last shot at an Olympic medal. Waiting one more day apparently doesn't make much difference to her.

Winds gusting to 20 mph near the top of the Wildflower course led to the postponement of the Olympic women's downhill yesterday. Officials delayed the start of the race several hours before calling it off and rescheduling the event for today.

"I'm not too disappointed; it happens in skiing," Street said. "We're pretty used to it on the World Cup. Tomorrow they're expecting a good day with half the wind."

Officials said the gusts, which were whipping across an area on the course known as the John Paul Traverse, would have been at the athletes' backs, making it highly dangerous for skiers already traveling 75 mph down the hill.

One of the biggest crowds ever for a downhill - upward of 25,000 - turned out to see the race, only to wait two hours in the cold before the postponement.

"I just hope the fans won't be too disappointed. I know how hard it is to get up here, go through all that," Street said. "I hope they come back."

Street is attempting to become the first female U.S. skier to win three Olympic medals. She won a downhill silver in 1994 in Lillehammer, Norway, and a super-G gold in 1998 in Nagano, Japan. In Nagano, the women's downhill was delayed two days because of high winds.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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