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New schedule for Alpine skiing

The scoreboard screen announces the weather-caused postponement of the men’s downhill Saturday.

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The scoreboard screen announces the weather-caused postponement of the men’s downhill Saturday.

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

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

The downhill was shifted to Monday, originally an off day. The already-postponed women's super-combined moves from today to Thursday, another slot left open on the calendar. All other races remained as scheduled as of Saturday.

"We're still very confident that we're going to do it, get everything finished," Alpine women's race director Atle Skaardal said. "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 slopes into a soft, mushy mess too dangerous to be used for high-speed skiing. The weather is supposed to clear up this week.

Only one of six downhill training runs for men and women has been completed as planned. A women's downhill practice was scheduled for today. Because of a forecast for rain, officials weren't optimistic that practice would come off.

Federation rules require that each competitor get at least one chance to ski the downhill course in practice before racing on it.

threats for weir: American figure skater Johnny Weir is staying at the Olympic village because he was concerned about his safety after receiving what he considers "very serious threats" from antifur activists.

Weir drew their ire last month after he added white fox fur to the left shoulder of his costume for the free skate at the U.S. championships.

"I felt very threatened," he said. "My agent got letters and faxes and e-mails. I got letters at the ice rink; somebody found my phone number. … All these crazy fur people. Securitywise, to stay in a hotel would be very difficult."

After nationals, he said he would wear faux fur in Vancouver. Saturday he said he isn't changing the costume but switching to another one.

TV Ratings: An estimated 32.6 million people watched the opening ceremony on NBC, the Nielsen Co. said. That's up 48 percent from the 2006 Turin Games in Italy and the United States' second-largest average Winter Games opening audience, behind 1994 in Lillehammer, better known as the Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan Olympics.

In terms of total viewers, Nielsen said, Friday's ceremony had 67.5 million, more than the 61.7 million for Lillehamer, making it the most-watched Winter Games opening outside of the United States.

The ceremony was by far the most-watched TV event ever in Canada; more than two-thirds of the country tuned in at some point. The two-network consortium broadcasting the Games there said 13.3 million Canadians watched all of the three-hour ceremony; the previous record for an event was 10.3 million for the 2002 Olympic gold-medal men's hockey game.

New schedule for Alpine skiing 02/13/10 [Last modified: Saturday, February 13, 2010 10:09pm]
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