Tuesday Afternoon Olympic Update

Tuesday, February 16, 2010 - 4:51pm

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) - The big news from the
Vancouver Olympics on Tuesday was what wasn't happening.

Heavy snow on Blackcomb Mountain postponed the men's
super-combined race and called off women's downhill training. Fog
and rain over on Cypress Mountain delayed the women's
snowboardcross event and shortened training for men's and women's
halfpipe, but they got things going in the afternoon despite
limited visibility.

In downtown Vancouver, skies were gray but temperatures were
closing in on a balmy 50 degrees. Nonetheless, most Canadians in
the city wanted to be indoors next to large sheets of ice, as in
the start of the men's hockey tournament and the curling

The United States and Switzerland were meeting in the first
hockey game, with Sidney Crosby and Canada taking over next to face
Norway. Over at the curling venue, 11 matches were scheduled, two
featuring the U.S. men and another with the women. The men lost
their opener to Germany 7-5.

The women's hockey tournament was to continue with the Americans
facing the Russians.

With the men's Alpine race scrapped, that left five medals to be
decided Tuesday. Germany won the first, in women's biathlon, to
move up to six medals, second only to the eight won by Americans.
Switzerland has the most golds with three; Americans have won two.

The almost daily weather problems and a spurt of technical
glitches have made for headache after headache for Vancouver
Olympics organizers. They appear ready to undo one of their own
making - the big chain-link fence keeping fans far from the outdoor
cauldron. Details will be released Wednesday.

"Perhaps we did underestimate the degree to which people would
want to get close to it," VANOC spokeswoman Renee Smith-Valade

Lindsey Jacobellis has waited four years for the chance to make
up for her gaffe near the finish line in Turin. After a few extra
hours of waiting, she made it through her qualifying run just fine.

The SBX finals are set for the afternoon.
Alpine delays

Lindsey Vonn was as happy to see the snowstorm as any kid who
gets a snow day home from school. No time on the slopes means more
time to rest her bruised shin, which she especially needs after a
bumpy training run Monday.

The women's event remains scheduled for Wednesday, so all she
missed was more training, which she also could've skipped. But the
wipeout means her foes can't gain an advantage by getting more
familiar with the course.

The men's super-combined has been rescheduled for Sunday. The
men's giant slalom was supposed to be Sunday has been shifted to
next Tuesday, Feb. 23.

Dry weather is forecast for Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Of
the four Alpine races scheduled so far, only the men's downhill has
been held.

"The situation is challenging," race director Guenter Hujara
said. "But we are quite optimistic. We still have quite a few days
in reserve. We will use them if necessary."

U.S. men curlers better start sweeping faster. Or slower. They
need to do something different to turn around the missed scoring
chances that cost them against a strong German squad.

"It's one of those weird deals where you're very close," U.S.
skip John Shuster said.

The Americans, ranked fourth in the world, get another chance
Tuesday night against Norway.

The women were playing Japan in the afternoon.
Men's hockey

Norway will be without its only NHL player for its Olympic
opener Tuesday against Canada.

Defenseman Ole Kristian Tollefsen, who was recently traded from
Philadelphia to Detroit, was delayed by a family illness and was
arriving in Vancouver too late to make the game. He's expected to
play Thursday, when Norway plays the United States.

The first multi-medalists at the Vancouver Olympics are
biathletes Magdalena Neuner of Germany and Anastazia Kuzmina of

Neuner won the women's 10-kilometer pursuit, giving her a gold
to go with her silver in the 7.5-kilometer sprint. Kuzmina got
silver, to go with her gold from the previous event.
Sara Studebaker was the top American, finishing 46th.
Venue wipeout

Another 20,000 folks planning to watch events on Cypress
Mountain are out of luck.

Wet, warm weather has wiped out the general-admission, standing
room area for watching snowboarding halfpipe, ski cross and
snowboard parallel giant slalom. The tickets, which cost $48 to
$62, are being refunded, along with the 8,000 tickets already
refunded for watching snowboardcross from the same spot.

All told, the 28,000 tickets to be refunded will cost organizers
around $1.44 million, which is a negligible portion of their $249
million ticketing revenue.

"The snow is washed way to the point where people can punch
through and potentially step in a place where there's two big straw
bales," said Caley Denton, vice president of ticketing and
consumer marketing for VANOC. "We've had people going down to
their knees."
TV ratings

The Winter Olympics are a big hit for NBC, drawing 16 percent
more viewers through the first three nights than the 2006 Turin

"We are really thrilled by the performance of the Olympics,"
said Alan Wurtzel, NBC Universal's top research executive.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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