Skiers Struggle as Real Snow Falls on Winter Olympics

By BERNIE WILSON, AP Sports activities Author

BEIJING (AP) — The Winter Olympics lastly appear like, nicely, the Winter Olympics.

Actual snow fell in Beijing on Sunday for the primary time for the reason that Olympics started, giving the town the looks and really feel of an actual Winter Video games. There was contemporary snow within the mountains as nicely, the place all occasions have been contested on synthetic snow.

Whereas the snow was principally a welcome sight, up within the mountains it affected visibility and made it more durable for ski racers to make it down the hill, particularly within the first run of the two-leg large slalom.

Marco Odermatt of Switzerland dealt with the snow and poor visibility higher than anybody else and gained his first Olympic gold medal.

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“I actually risked all the things within the second run as a result of I wished not simply the medal, I wished the gold medal,” Odermatt stated. ”It’s troublesome as a result of you possibly can lose all the things however right this moment it paid off.”

Whereas a light-weight snow fell Saturday, it got here down quite a bit tougher on Sunday, the primary time it snowed throughout an Alpine race in the course of the Beijing Olympics. The heavy snow pressured the second run to be postponed by 1 hour, quarter-hour. In the course of the delay, employees cleared snow from the course with snow blowers and shovels.

“It was a tough day, with the circumstances, with such a protracted wait between the 2 runs,” Odermatt stated. “It was greater than 5 hours for me, it was such a very long time to re-think all the things and it was laborious to remain targeted. I attempted to sleep some minutes in between.

“I truly by no means dreamt about it however now it nonetheless looks like a dream.”

Many different skiers had a tough day on the course often known as The Ice River on the Yanqing Alpine Snowboarding Heart.

“It’s a disgrace what the climate is like. I hoped for the solar, like on all the opposite days. Couldn’t see something,” stated Luca de Aliprandini of Italy, who was sixth after the primary run however skied off track and didn’t end the second run. “Once I was taking place, the flakes had been massive.”

American skier Tommy Ford got here in twelfth.

“It’s nice circumstances on the course, however you possibly can’t see it,” Ford stated.

“It was troublesome for everybody,” stated Henrik Kristoffersen of Norway, who was eighth total.

A second ladies’s downhill coaching run scheduled for Sunday was canceled.

The snow affected the lads’s cross-country relay ski race a lot that employees used leaf blowers to clear it out of the tracks. The snow made the ski tracks sluggish, particularly on the primary two traditional ski legs.

Identical to within the ladies’s race, the Russian workforce opened a lead on the primary leg after which held on for the gold medal. Sergey Ustiugov maintained greater than a minute lead on the final lap over the two-man chasing group of Johannes Hoesflot Klaebo of Norway and Maurice Manificat of France.

Ustiugov grabbed a flag on his approach to the end line and gained the 10-kilometer relay 1 hour, 54 minutes, 50.7 seconds. By comparability, the profitable time within the four-man relay on the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics was greater than 20 minutes faster.

Freestyle skier Eileen Gu has to attend a day to attempt to win a second gold medal on the Beijing Video games after gusty wind and snow postponed the qualifying spherical for ladies’s slopestyle.

Qualifying was pushed again to Monday and the ultimate to Tuesday. The swap avoids placing the gold-medal spherical immediately in opposition to the Tremendous Bowl, which can be being televised by NBC.

The lads’s slopestyle qualification additionally was switched from Monday to Tuesday, with its ultimate now set for Wednesday.

The 18-old-year Gu was on the high of the hill stretching and preparing for some warmup runs within the blustery circumstances when qualifying was postponed. The snow was blowing sideways and the flags on the underside of the course had been whipping in all instructions. Visibility additionally was low, which makes touchdown jumps off the large kickers alongside the course harmful.

Gu was born and raised in the USA however selected to compete for China, her mom’s dwelling nation. Her victory in massive air final Tuesday was vastly common in China.

Russian determine skater Kamila Valieva continued to follow within the hours earlier than the Courtroom of Arbitration for Sport was to resolve whether or not she can be allowed to compete this week. An expedited listening to was scheduled for Sunday, with a ruling anticipated someday Monday.

A call by CAS is predicted roughly 24 hours earlier than the 15-year-old Valieva is due on the ice at Capital Indoor Stadium for the quick program on Tuesday. The overwhelming favourite, she drew the twenty sixth beginning spot Sunday among the many 30 within the occasion.

Valieva has but to overlook a scheduled follow since a drug check taken in December was flagged final Monday for traces of a banned coronary heart remedy. That was the identical day the reigning European champion helped the Russian skaters win workforce gold with a dynamic free skate wherein she grew to become the primary lady to land a quad in Olympic competitors.

On a number of events since then, the stress appeared to have gotten to Valieva, together with a second throughout Saturday’s follow session when she fell throughout a triple axel and ultimately skated to the boards and tearfully hugged her embattled coach, Eteri Tutberidze.

Marte Olsbu Roeiseland held her focus within the blowing snow and shot cleanly within the final standing cease to win the ladies’s biathlon 10-kilometer pursuit race. It was her third gold medal of the Beijing Olympics and fourth medal total.

The Norwegian began the race with a lead due to her win within the dash race and hit 19 of her 20 targets. She gained in 34 minutes, 46.9 seconds.

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