NEW YORK (AP) _ CBS has all but clinched the lowest-rated Winter Olympics in 30 years.

Through Thursday night's coverage, CBS was averaging a 16.4 rating/26 share. That's 40 percent behind the 27.3/41 from Lillehammer and 13 percent off the 18.9/29 from Albertville.

CBS will need to average about a 21 rating the final three nights in order to beat the 17.2 that NBC received from Sapporo, Japan, in 1972.

While the highly-rated women's figure skating free program remains, the final two nights are traditionally two of the lower-rated nights of an Olympics.

That means CBS will likely post the lowest Winter Olympic ratings since ABC's 13.5 from Grenoble, France, in 1968.

CBS' pattern of low ratings continued Thursday night, as the network got a 13.9/22 for day-late coverage of the men's giant slalom and a preview of women's figure skating. That is 40 percent lower than the 23.1/34 from Lillehammer and 10 percent below the 15.4/24 from Albertville.

A rating point for CBS represents 980,000 households, or 1 percent of the nation's estimated 98 million TV homes. A share is the percentage of in-use televisions tuned to a given show.