Pouring rain in Beijhing delays Olympic events

Tarps covered the baseball and softball diamonds and boats of every type were kept off the water Thursday as downpours forced a bunch of Olympic events to be delayed, postponed or, in some cases, delayed then postponed. 

The U.S. baseball and softball teams each went through lengthy delays before their games ended up being stopped. The men were given a rain-shortened victory, while the women were put on hold, to be resumed Friday.

Rowing and canoe-kayak were washed out, turning Friday's off-day into a makeup day. About 500 kilometers (300 miles) away in Qingdao, sailing was canceled, but that was for a lack of wind and poor visibility. 

Tennis was halted before play even started, a big headache for a tournament that hasn't recovered from a washout earlier this week. 

Beach volleyball kept going, but that made sense. They wear bathing suits.

But archery and skeet shooting? You wouldn't really want their grip to slip. Still, both events played out - safely, too. 

"The targets were jumping around," said American shooter Kimberly Rhode, who took silver. "It was hard to see them and keep an eye on them."

"We had wet feet," added Germany's Christine Brinker, the bronze medalist. "It was uncomfortable."

It's enough to make organizers long for complaints about the heat, haze and humidity. At least those things don't force schedules to be jumbled. 

Rain dotted the previous five days of these games, but tennis was the only sport still playing catch-up. For instance, the Williams sisters had played only one doubles match so far, leaving them matches in four straight days if they made the finals - and if they were able to get in their Thursday night match.

Get used to it, though, because the Olympic weather service is predicted several more days of clouds, with rain likely to return. 

Showers on Sunday would really be trouble because 34 medals are to be decided, the most of any day. Some of those events are men's tennis (Nadal-Federer, perhaps), the women's marathon, rowing and a slew of track events, including the women's 100 meters. The Bird's Nest has a lot going for it, but it doesn't have a roof. 

Stronger storms are being predicted for Tuesday. That could affect the men's triathlon and Bird's Nest events like the women's 400 sprint and 100 hurdles. 

Thursday's storms forced volunteers and stadium workers into tarp-rolling duty at Wukesong Baseball Field and Fengtai Softball Field. 

At Wukesong, fierce rain and roaring thunder prompted a delay of 1 hour, 35 minutes, in the top of the eighth. With water pooled in the outfield, especially the warning tracks, there was another delay in the top of the ninth - with the Netherlands having the bases loaded and no outs, but trailing 7-0. They protested, but it was denied, preserving the U.S. victory. 

At Fengtai, the dirt infield turned into a mud bog during the 10 minutes it took to cover it with two tarps. A young girl slipped and fell while trying to help. After a 1-hour, 46-minute delay, the game resumed in the second inning, only to be stopped again in the fourth with Canada leading the U.S. 1-0.

The start of rowing was delayed 90 minutes, then came a second rain band that included thunder and lightning. Officials decided then to move Thursday's entire card to Friday.

On the whitewater, the canoe double semifinals were the only runs completed, forcing the semifinals and the final of women's kayak single and the men's canoe double final to be pushed back to Friday. 

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Author`s name Anton Kulikov