Olympic skiers furious after Beijing officials cancel alpine training because of high winds – National
Marco Odermatt of Switzerland and other skiers hit the field at Olympic ski organizers after Saturday’s downhill training was canceled with only three athletes completing the course.
High winds prompted organizers to pull the pin on the third training run for Sunday’s opening medal event with Austria’s Matthias Mayer, Italy’s Christof Innerhofer and Norway’s Aleksander Aamodt Kilde as drivers. Only one can enter the racetrack.
“Due to the current situation there are high winds and no window in the reduced wind forecast, in the best interest of safety, the jury together with the organizers have decided to cancel today’s run,” Lien said. International Ski Federation (FIS) said in a statement.
But Odermatt, the overall World Cup leader and a candidate going downhill, was frustrated with his handling of the situation.
“It’s just not fair and for me the big, big issue is how they (Race Jury) communicate with our athletes,” he said.
“They just made the decision at 11:15, something like that, to cancel practice, even if the last two days we started an hour later.
“They didn’t even ask us what we thought. After two or three sentences we talked to the FIS, the judges, they turned off the radio and didn’t answer anymore,” he added.
“Like this, it just doesn’t work.”
Beijing 2022 Olympics begins with the opening ceremony
Odermatt said there will be a slight advantage for the trio who were able to run for the third time on an unfamiliar track that has never been competed before.
“If in Wengen or Kitzbuehel, everyone knows the slope but here everything is new, everything is different,” said the Swiss. “So each run really helps you figure out the perfect setup or chain.
“Hopefully tomorrow the wind will calm down and we can have a fair race.”
The arid conditions at the upper stage of the course clearly influenced the trio to start training, and Kilde feels the organizers got it right.
“It was fun skiing but with the wind it was crazy because you accelerate so much in some places and then you suddenly lose speed and when I jumped I went 60 meters, I thought – I kept balance, thank God.
“It’s good that they canceled. It’s coming from all directions so it’s really hard to control.
“Then all of a sudden it was nothing and then you had all the wind and then there was nothing – then from the side, from the back and even the jumps today it comes from below.”
But Austria’s Daniel Hemetsberger said skiers should have had a chance to catch the wind.
“I was a bit angry because I wanted to go, I wanted to ski,” he added. “The wind was really strong in the middle, but I think we had a chance to slow down there.
“We’re all adult athletes, we’re all professionals, we can do this.”
Germany coach Christian Schwaiger said it was the right move to stop the run, but it was difficult to understand why the organizers did not wait.
“None of us understood why they canceled it so quickly. It’s right to tear it down, it’s reached its limit, it’s not safe,” he said.
“But we can wait another half hour or an hour. We all have time. This training will of course be extremely important for many countries. “
Beijing Winter Olympics prepare to start despite COVID-19 and controversies
Race referee Markus Waldner said that the decision to cancel was purely based on safety factors.
“Of course I can accept all the criticism that comes from the drivers, some of the coaches, that this is an advantage for three drivers now,” he said.
“But this is ‘force majeure’. We are an outdoor sport and we always make decisions in terms of safety. Due to safety we have made this decision, very simple.”
High winds are forecast again on race day but Waldner said they expect gusts to subside around the time of the race.
Sunday’s scheduled downhill will usher in alpine skiing events at the Yanqing complex with the women in action on Monday in giant slalom.
(Reporting by Simon Evans, additional reporting by Shadia Nasralla; Editing by Jacqueline Wong, Peter Rutherford & Shri Navaratnam)
https://globalnews.ca/news/8597188/beijing-olympics-alpine-ski-training-cancelled/ Olympic skiers furious after Beijing officials cancel alpine training because of high winds – National