2022 Winter Olympics Live Updates

Ryan Cochran-Siegle of the United States during a men’s downhill practice Thursday. Credit… Hiroko Masuike/The New York Times The ...


Credit…Hiroko Masuike/The New York Times

The start of the men’s downhill races at the Beijing Olympics on Sunday was pushed back to another day due to high winds, conditions that had contributed to competitors feeling unwell over a high-speed race on an icy racetrack on which no skiers never competed.

The start was first postponed to Sunday noon. The organizers then pushed back the decision twice before announcing at 1 p.m. that the race was postponed to another day. A new date was not immediately released.

Olympic alpine races are usually held on established courses, and when a new, unfamiliar track is selected, there are test events and training opportunities on the course for a year or more before the Olympics are held.

But the downhill course on Xiaohaituo Mountain in a remote suburb of Beijing has been unable to hold test events for the past two winters due to the pandemic. The first chance riders had to investigate and practice on the course – or at the racetracks of any of the other nine individual alpine events – was a few days ago. The surface under the runners’ skis will also be something new for an Olympic venue: it is made entirely of artificial snow, as the area usually only receives a few centimeters of natural snow.

On the first of three training runs scheduled for Thursday, about a third of the riders failed through all the gates. During Friday’s second practice run, riders were beginning to grip the hilly terrain, which has several blind bumps and will require riders to hit speeds approaching 90 miles per hour. But after races of just three runners, a third and final practice race on Saturday was canceled due to high winds, which are common to the region and add another treacherous element to an event that forces runners to fly up 60 meters from a series. of jumps.

The cancellation of the third practice opportunity has outraged many racers and their coaches as most competitors use their last practice attempt on the course as a trial run for tactics and the path between the gates, known as the line. But on Saturday, race officials deemed the gusts of wind dangerous, potentially a recurring and unpredictable weather condition for alpine races at the venue.

Norwegian Aleksander Aamodt Kilde, the race favorite and one of three skiers who completed Saturday’s practice race, said organizers were right to cancel practice.

“With the wind it’s kind of crazy, because you gain so much speed in some places and suddenly lose speed in other places,” Kilde said. “It’s coming from all directions, so it’s really hard to control it.”

Kilde, who tops the World Cup downhill standings this season, had the fastest training run in Friday’s training session. He will be challenged by the Austrians Matthias Mayer, winner of the event in 2014, and Vincent Kriechmayr, and two Swiss riders: Beat Feuz and Marco Odermatt, who is the overall leader of the World Cup this season. Another rider with a strong downhill pedigree is Italian Dominik Paris.

America’s top contenders are Bryce Bennett, Travis Ganong and Ryan Cochran-Siegle. No American has won a medal in this event since Bode Miller won bronze at the Vancouver Olympics in 2010.

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Newsrust - US Top News: 2022 Winter Olympics Live Updates
2022 Winter Olympics Live Updates
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