THERE’S MUCH TALK OF THESE WINTER OLYMPICS BEING “TOO COLD” AND “TOO WINDY”, WITH TWO BLUE RIBBON ALPINE EVENTS HAVING BEEN POSTPONED AND ATHLETES COMPLAINING ABOUT UNSAFE CONDITIONS. BUT CAN A WINTER OLYMPICS REALLY BE TOO COLD? AND WASN’T EVERYBODY COMPLAINING ABOUT SOCHI BEING TOO WARM?
It seems it’s not just the Brits who like talking about the weather – the whole world is talking about the conditions over in PyeongChang. Four years ago, we were all talking about the balmy conditions at Sochi, where temperatures never once dropped below zero and even topped 20 degrees Celsius on occasion. Now PyeongChang is presenting us with genuinely Arctic conditions, where temperatures are regularly around the -15 degrees Celsius mark and accompanied by bitingly cold winds. So when does batting the wintry elements stop being part of the Olympic spirit and start to become a problem?
So far, the strong winds buffeting PyeongChang have caused the Men’s Alpine Downhill and Women’s Alpine Giant Slalom to be postponed, with whispers already circulating about an extended Games. The winds also resulted in Sunday’s Women’s Slopestyle qualifying stages being pulled in favour of one single final event, which took place (later than scheduled, due to wind) on Monday morning. Team GB’s Aimee Fuller went in confidently but, as gusts of over 45km/h caused every single rider to fall on at least one of their two allotted runs, athletes, trainers, spectators and commentators began to question the wisdom of continuing with the event.
Aimee described the conditions as the “roughest” she had competed in:
“It was like riding into a wind tunnel. On the second run I got my speed right but once I was in the air it felt like I had a sail boat under my board,” the 26-year-old explained. “If you were lucky with the wind there were calm windows but the majority was super inconsistent. I don’t think it was a true reflection of women’s slopestyle, which is a shame for our sport.”
Hopefully the winds will die down for Aimee’s next opportunity to win a medal, when she competes in the Women’s Big Air competition, due to start next Monday. Before that, however, we’ve got the Men’s Cross-Country Men’s Sprint Classic to look forward to this morning at 11:00 GMT with Andrew Young looking to put in a strong performance. This is Andrew’s third Winter Olympics and the Sprint is his strongest race distance – he’s hoping to qualify in the top 30 in the prologue to earn a place in the knockout stages, so egg him on!