The 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics may have jinxed themselves. The motto for this years Olympics is “Hot. Cool. Yours,” and by now some are wishing that they had included cold into that mix because warm temperatures may be threatening the integrity of some events.
In a very telling image a man was seen jogging in shorts along the Myzmta River promenade, located just below the alpine centers. Temperatures are also high in the Western Caucasus Mountains where the temperatures are making the conditions mushy and have caused the cancellation of the women’s training run for the downhill event in order to ensure that the conditions are ideal for Wednesday’s official race.
There have been other training runs that have been affected by the weather, causing them to either be cancelled or moved to another location. Another sign of the warm weather came during Tuesday’s cross-country ski races, where many athletes were seen rolling up their sleeves as their bodies began to heat up.
American Bode Miller admitted that he could definitely see the signs of change caused by the warmer temperatures. “The conditions have changed,” he said. “Now it has become a completely different race course.” Miller would like to see the course icier with harder snow for his speed skiing runs.
The gold medal winner in Moguls said that the conditions definitely were a factor during his race. “The snow was very soft, a bit like Vancouver,” Alexandre Bilodeau said. He added that after skiing on very hard snow all week in Sochi it was difficult to adjust over the last two days when the snow became soft.
“You really needed to adapt and that’s complicated,” he added. “We’ve seen so many crashes that normally don’t happen… I had to be more neutral, less aggressive.”
Mostly, however, athletes are embracing the need to adapt. No athletes have declared the surfaces dangerous or an obstacle that prevented them from winning the gold medal. Still officials at the game are concerned and looking into every possible option they have of retaining the games integrity in the midst of the warm weather.
The spokeswoman for the Sochi organizing committee said that they are prepared for the possibly warmer conditions and that they should not ruin the games. We’ve tested it already,” Alexandra Kosterina said. “Last year during the test events when we had very warm temperatures… One of the measures we have in place is snow preservation, snow that was stored from the previous season.”
One way the warm weather could impact the Olympics is by influencing who gets awarded the next chance at hosting. The Vancouver games were very warm back in 2010 and now that the Sochi games are also experiencing problems from the heat, do not be surprised if Olympic officials move away from granting hosting duties to coastal communities which have the potential of overheating.
The 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics remain underway today even against the warm weather conditions that have already affected some events and have cancelled, or moved some, practice runs. This weather has mostly been experienced in the more coastal communities of the Olympic region.
By Nick Manai