Fog Pushes Back Olympic Events, As Sochi Slopes Finally Get A Taste Of This Terrible Weather
Well, this is ironic. While the American South was pummeled with snow, ice, and fog, Sochi has been seeing weather so unseasonably warm that athletes were forced to change outfits and officials pushed to move schedules — but no more. On Monday, a dense fog pushed through the Russian city's ski slopes, forcing officials to postpone of the men's snowboardcross event to Tuesday. The women's slalom start time has also been pushed forward, and the men's mass-start biathlon has been postponed for yet another day.
Thanks to the change, Tuesday's snowboardcross event won't require the athletes to qualify, and the athletes will instead be bracketed based on their world standing. Competitor Jarryd Hugher told the Associated Press: "I called it as soon as I got here — that there would be bad weather on the day." He added, "It can't stay sunny the whole time for that long."
A second event, the 15-kilometer mass-start biathlon race, has been repeatedly pushed back thanks to the fog. It was initially moved from Sunday to Monday, and now from Monday to Tuesday, because visibility at Sochi's Rosa Khutor Extreme Park has been so poor. Prior to last weekend, the Khutor Extreme Park had suffered from the opposite problem, with unexpectedly warm temperatures causing slushy snow.
"Well, I am going to sleep again," mass-start Olympic champion Martin Fourcade Tweeted in French. He attached a picture of the fog, weather that is particularly problematic for the mass-start event, since the lack of visibility sparks safety concerns that the athletes won't be able to hit targets.
And the Sochi weather isn't posed to improve. The start time for the women's giant slalom has been pushed forward by an hour and a half, and the first run is now scheduled for 9.30 a.m. Forecasters predict that it'll start snowing Tuesday morning, and the rain and snow will continue through the afternoon.
Sunday saw Meryl Davis and Charlie White outperform their ice-dancing opponents in the short program, bringing the U.S. closer to the country's first-ever gold medal in ice dancing. The two finally defeated their longtime rivals and defending Olympic champions, Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir of Canada, with a 2.5-point lead.