Warm weather is taking its toll at the Winter Olympics in Russia, where some skiers have been stripping down to t-shirts to compete REPORTS NATALIE PETERS FROM SOCHI.
The mercury was sitting at 12 degrees at noon on Day Six of competition at Rosa Khutor Extreme Park, which was playing host to arguably the most exciting spectator sport here at the Games, Ski Slopestyle.
Natalie Peters is a broadcaster, journalist, skier and is covering the Olympic Games for 2GB in Sydney where she is Deputy News Director. She is filing exclusive blogs for Snow It All from the ground in Russia. Follow her on twitter @nataliejpeters
Two of the Team USA riders who soared through the air and onto the podium wore sweat shirts with the sleeves rolled up, while another athlete stripped down to a t-shirt. Journalists in the mixed zone were also down to shirts and sunnies, making me wish I’d packed for a Summer vacation not a month in sub-zero conditions.
Aussie skier Russ Henshaw, who finished 8th after crashing on his Triple Cork, was feeling the heat.
“I definitely wanted to ride in a t-shirt,” the Jindabyne local admitted. “It was so hot up there it was literally like skiing back home in Spring. It was so soft and sunny, it was great! Actually I enjoyed it.”
Henshaw was also quoted about the conditions in the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age as saying “I’ve been trying to feel this course out the whole time. In the morning, it’s icy. In the afternoon, it’s like soup.”
Over at Laura Cross Country Ski and Biathlon Centre, at least one of the women racing in the 10 kilometre Classic was in a singlet.
The weather has prompted officials to bring forward the start of Day Seven’s alpine ski races.
In order to minimise the impact of the warm conditions, Sochi’s Main Operations Centre has decided to move the start of the Alpine Skiing Men’s Super Combined from 11 o’clock in the morning, to 10 o’clock.
And so it should. With dozens of competitors flying down the course in direct sunlight, the difference from first run to last, and top to bottom, will be vast.
Athletes spend years training for the Olympics and while officials cannot control the weather the competitors deserve to compete in optimum winter conditions.
Down in the Coastal Cluster, temperatures are forecast to reach 18 degrees Celsius over the next few days and a cool change is forecast for the ski resorts above Sochi this weekend, but the winter heat wave will return early next week.
It makes me wonder, if Sochi, a traditionally coastal summer holiday resort, can successfully host a Games, maybe Roy and HG weren’t so off the mark when launching the Smiggins Holes 2010 Winter Olympic bid.
Social media in Sochi goes weather crazy (gallery)
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