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High winds put Shiffrin's bid on hold

February 11. 2018 10:39PM
Mikaela Shiffrin of the U.S. leaves after the women's giant slalom at the Winter Olympics is postponed due to high winds at the Yongpyong Alpine Centre. (REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini)

PYEONGCHANG, South Korea — A second attempt to get the Alpine skiing underway at the Pyeongchang Olympics failed on Monday when the women’s giant slalom was postponed because of high winds, adding to the scheduling woes of race organizers.

The race at the Yongpyong Alpine Centre was later moved to Thursday with an earlier start time to accommodate the men’s downhill at the Jeongseon venue.

The downhill, the first scheduled event of the program, had also been moved to Thursday because of high winds at the Jeongseon mountain on Sunday.

The event had been much anticipated as the first in Mikaela Shiffrin’s bid for multiple gold medals in Pyeongchang. Shiffrin spent formative years living in Lyme, N.H.

“It’s a bummer that we’re not able to race today. But with the training block I’ve had, I’m prepared and feeling good,” she said.

“I’ll use this time to continue to train and refocus on Wednesday’s slalom race. We have a great gym and space to eat and take plenty of naps, so I’ll use this time to recharge.”

Gusty winds are forecast to continue through Tuesday, preventing the gondolas that get the skiers to the top of the mountain from running and threatening the safety of competitors. Women’s race director Atle Skaardal had been confident of getting the giant slalom underway despite the challenges given the Yongpyong gondola was less exposed. Organizers had prepared an alternate start position lower down the mountain, away from the strongest winds at the peak, but their efforts were to no avail.

Disruption to the Alpine skiing at the Winter Olympics is not unusual and it is a rare Games where some re-jigging of the schedule is not necessary.

Running races on separate mountains on the same day is hardly ideal, however, especially when one, the men’s downhill, is the marquee event of Alpine skiing at the Games.

The men’s Super G at Jeongseon has already been switched to Friday, previously a rest day, to accommodate the downhill.

The first run of the giant slalom has been moved forward by 45 minutes to 9.30 am local time on Thursday with the second run starting at 1:15 pm, allowing a window clear for the men’s downhill to take center stage at 11 am. (Reporting by Nick Mulvenney, editing by Toby Davis/Greg Stutchbury)

Skiing Winter Olympics