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Women's downhill training canceled due to weather

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WHISTLER, British Columbia (AP) — Women's downhill training won't go on as planned at the Vancouver Olympics on Sunday because of heavy rain and snow.

It's the third women's training session that has been called off at the Winter Games. Continued warm temperatures, mixed with snow, rain and fog have wreaked havoc with the Alpine schedule, and both the men and the women have yet to hold a race.

The women's downhill race — American Lindsey Vonn's top event — is scheduled for Wednesday, leaving only two more days for training runs to take place. Rules require that at least one training session be held before a downhill race can begin.

The weather has forced organizers to quickly rearrange the Alpine races. Originally scheduled to open the games on Saturday, the men's downhill was moved to Monday and the women's super-combined has been shifted from Sunday to Thursday, creating a block of seven consecutive races in seven days.

With its location close to the Pacific Ocean, Whistler is known for its bad weather but organizers say drier and cooler air is on the way starting Monday. Still, all the rain and warm weather this week has deteriorated the downhill runs into a mushy mess and it could take some time to restore the courses into a condition safe enough for high-speed racing.

"They've got some challenges because the top of the hill has been receiving snow, the middle has been a mixture of snow and rain, and the bottom has been pouring rain," U.S. men's head coach Sasha Rearick said. "Three different approaches they need to take on the hill, and they've been applying that very well."

Vonn is one of the few skiers pleased with all the delays, because it gives her bruised right shin more time to heal.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.

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