Organizers scramble as weather disrupts penultimate day of Beijing Games
YANQING, China – Organizers rushed to rearrange the mixed alpine team parallel race for the final day of the Beijing Olympics after high winds on Saturday forced the competition to be postponed.
Team officials and organizers have agreed to hold the event, which is only in its second year, at 9 a.m. on Sunday despite the planned return of several teams.
The decision will likely mean some teams will have to rearrange their flight and accommodation bookings, but it was not immediately clear whether all would remain to compete.
Alpine team officials will hold their usual pre-race ‘captains’ meeting’ at 5 p.m. when the start list is agreed, and only then will it be clear how many of the 15 teams will remain in the rescheduled event.
Olympics and International Ski Federation (FIS) officials were keen to avoid the complications that would come with the rare event that an event did not take place.
The closing ceremony of the Beijing Games is on Sunday at 8 p.m.
The weather forecast for Sunday calls for slightly better wind conditions earlier in the day.
Saturday at 9 a.m., gusts were recorded between 24 and 28 meters per second. On Sunday, gusts are expected to be between 19 and 22 m/s at this time.
The weather also disrupted competition at the National Cross-Country Center in Zhangjiakou.
The mass start of the men’s 50 km cross-country, one of the sport’s flagship events, was postponed by an hour and shortened to 30 km due to high winds.
Not everyone on the pitch was happy with the decision.
“Of course the health of the athletes comes first, but we knew it was going to be cold. … Look at other sports that have moved their events a day earlier. That’s not the way to go if we want grow our sport!” Irish skier Thomas Maloney Westgaard tweeted.
The women’s 12.5km biathlon event, originally scheduled for Saturday, was postponed to Friday due to weather concerns.
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Beijing Olympics 2022