Olympic Winter Games Day 15 News, Scores and Live Updates
YANQING, China — High winds at the National Alpine Skiing Center forced the postponement of Saturday’s final alpine race of the Beijing Olympics, the mixed team event, to Sunday, the final day of the Games, with an hour of departure at 9 a.m. local time.
After gusts of up to 40 mph caused two weather delays on Saturday morning, organizers and alpine ski officials decided just after 11:30 a.m. local time (10:30 p.m. Eastern) to postpone or cancel the event. . The decision to postpone it to Sunday came more than an hour later. Among the issues complicating the decision: Sunday’s forecast is no better than Saturday’s, and some teams were scheduled to depart Beijing late Saturday night or early Sunday.
“It was pretty clear with the gusty winds it was not possible to run the race,” said Jenny Wiedeke, communications director for the International Ski Federation (FIS). “…When you have aerial fences that fly, that’s a pretty clear decision.”
The race, which is to feature US star Mikaela Shiffrin’s sixth and final chance to medal at these Olympics, was originally scheduled for 11 a.m. local time, but officials decided on Friday to move the start by an hour. , at 10 am, due to the weather forecast.
However, less than an hour before the start of the race, officials decided it was too dangerous to race – the start being pushed back first an hour, then another. At one point, a segment of the gondola system that transports skiers, media, volunteers and officials to the start and finish areas was closed due to the wind, forcing everyone to take shuttles that climb a steep road via hairpin bends upwards. .
According to Olympic historian Bill Mallon, only one Winter Olympic event has been canceled entirely: In 1928 in St. Moritz, Switzerland, the men’s 10 kilometer speed skating race was canceled after warm weather made melt the ice.