Associated Press

SNOWBASIN, Utah (AP) – Picabo Street’s quest to become the first American woman to win three Olympic skiing medals will have to wait at least one more day.

Winds up to 20 mph near the top of the Wildflower course forced postponement of the women’s downhill Monday. The race likely was to be rescheduled for Tuesday, originally an off day in the Alpine schedule.

An official announcement of the new date was expected after a meeting of Olympic officials at 7 p.m. EST.

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

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

Some of those fans won’t be back, though.

Salt Lake City hotel workers Kyle Knipper and Alika Lumho came to Snowbasin on their day off, and said they won’t have another chance to get away. And Kathleen Handy also can’t make a second trip to Snowbasin.

“I won’t be coming back up here. My baby is expected Friday. That’d be pushing it,” said Handy, 34, her oversized blue and black ski jacket unzipped over her abdomen.

Though flags were nearly limp at the bottom of the course, where about 25,000 spectators waited patiently in sub-freezing temperatures, winds buffeted the top of the course – 9,016 feet up Mount Ogden.

The gusty winds would have been at the racers’ backs, which could have made it dangerous for skiers already traveling at about 75 mph.

“It wasn’t very bad, but the wind was changing all the time, so it wouldn’t have been fair,” said Isolde Kostner of Italy, one of the favorites. “One girl would have had wind, another wouldn’t have had wind.”

Such delays are nothing new for Alpine skiers. The 1998 Nagano Olympics were tormented by weather woes, including a two-day delay in the women’s downhill.

The race originally was scheduled to start at noon EST, but was delayed an hour. Race officials then delayed the start another hour, until 1 p.m., but called it off when the winds did not subside.

The forecast called for the winds to decrease Monday night. Slightly warmer temperatures and calm conditions were expected Tuesday.

Copyright 2001 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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