Organizers upbeat for downhill

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By Simon Evans

"We are still more than convinced than we will deliver a race tomorrow, 10.30 start," men's race director Guenther Hujara told reporters on Sunday.

Hujara said the weather was showing signs of improvement and he expected better course conditions to follow.

"As we were told in the forecast, there is less precipitation now, the temperatures will decrease overnight. We should have a clear sky that helps us a lot to get harder snow conditions.

"We have people working on the course from now on through the night, around 300 people in total in highly efficient shifts," he said.

"The plans are very, very clear for us, we know what to do and because the forecast is so accurate, we can rely on that ... we are very optimistic," he said.


Overnight rain in the Whistler area had eased off by mid-morning and colder temperatures are forecast for the coming days.

Hujara said the course might not be ideal but that it would be up to standard.

"If you asked me what would be the optimum conditions for an Olympic downhill course I would say equal conditions from top to bottom, hard and icy.

"Maybe we don't get that but we will have the optimum we can get out of our conditions.

"At least we will have conditions where we can say that we let the racers go in safe conditions, under the best we can deliver -- and that the best will win," he said.

Switzerland's Didier Cuche, among the favorites for gold, said he was preparing for a Monday race.

"Yes, because they told us its going to be really colder. It's going to be rough and tough, the lower section is really wet now and if it's frozen it's going to be nice," he said.

The course is likely to be somewhat different in feel to the one which the racers practiced on last week.

"I think that it's not going to be totally different to the training but if the temperatures are going to be colder tonight it's going to be a little bit harder and I personally would appreciate that," said Liechtenstein's Marco Buechel.

(Editing by Ed Osmond)