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Weather forces rescheduling of Alpine events

WHISTLER, British Columbia - After postponing the first two Alpine events, the International Ski Federation revamped the schedule for the Vancouver Olympics to try to squeeze seven races into seven days.

The plan came about after the competition-opening men's downhill was postponed Saturday because of warm, wet weather that's turned the slopes to mush.

The downhill was shifted to 10:30 a.m. Monday, originally a day off.

The new lineup keeps the men's super-combined on Tuesday, and the women's downhill - Lindsey Vonn's signature event - on Wednesday. The already-postponed women's super-combined moves from Sunday to Thursday, another slot open on the Olympic calendar.

The schedule then would revert to normal: men's super-G race Friday, women's super-G the next day and men's giant slalom Feb. 21.

After that, three races would remain with a full week left in the Winter Games. There are still days that have no training runs or medal events scheduled, leaving extra space to fill should the weather continue to cause problems.

"We're still very confident that we're going to do it - get everything finished," Vancouver Alpine women's race director Atle Skaardal told The Associated Press. "You can't see into the future. I can't see into the future. So I can't give you a sure answer."

Repeated snow, rain, fog and too-warm temperatures have turned the Olympic slopes into a soft, mushy mess too dangerous to be used for high-speed skiing. The forecast for the weekend called for a mix of rain, sleet and snow, although the weather is supposed to clear up sometime next week.

"It's all going to work out," Peter Bosinger, who oversees Alpine skiing at these Olympics, told the AP. "Monday's going to be a sunny day, and everyone's going to be smiling."

Only one of six downhill training runs for men and women was completed as planned so far, although a women's downhill practice has been scheduled for Sunday. Because there is a 50 percent chance of rain or snow Sunday - and Skaardal said precipitation is the biggest impediment to a good course at this point - officials aren't optimistic that practice will come off.

New York Sports