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Short-sleeve skiing at the Winter Olympics? That's Sochi for you

Cross-Country Skiing - Winter Olympics Day 6

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SOCHI, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 13: Sophie Caldwell of the United States competes in the Women's 10 km Classic during day six of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at Laura Cross-country Ski & Biathlon Center on February 13, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. (Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images)

A 64-degree day with light breeze would be ideal for a baseball game. For a Winter Olympics, it's a bit more problematic.

Temperatures have soared into the 60s in the Coastal Village at Sochi, and while the mountains haven't gotten quite that warm, competitors are still having to deal with unexpected heat. USA cross-country skier Sophie Caldwell stripped down to a sleeveless t-shirt, as did many other competitors in Thursday morning's Ladies Classic 10K race.

Here, for comparison's sake, is Caldwell earlier in the week:

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Feb 11, 2014; Krasnaya Polyana, RUSSIA; Sophie Caldwell (USA) lunges for the finish line during the semifinals …

All of which raises the question: why Sochi? When Russia has no shortage of cold-weather locales that could have hosted a Winter Olympics, why pick one that's more appropriate for a spring break than a Winter Games?

Because, as Yahoo's Martin Rogers notes, that's exactly the point. Russia is seeking to remake itself as a tourist destination, and Sochi is one of its jewels. By establishing the "brand name" of Sochi, Russia can capitalize on its tourism potential, and the fact that it's warm during a Winter Olympics will play well when it's trying to attract tourists weary of cold weather in 2015 and beyond.

On the downside, the warmer conditions are playing havoc with all Olympic events that require snow ... which is an awful lot of them. Even so, we're going to see plenty more incongruous photographs, as the weather is projected to stay warm for the next few days, at least.


Jay Busbee is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter.

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