2018 Winter Olympics: Wind gusts force postponement of men's downhill skiing

Two days into the 2018 Winter Olympics, we have our first PyeongChang weather problem.

And no, the problem isn’t the earthquake that hit about 100 miles south of the host city. It’s 40-45 mile per hour winds that, as you might expect, are a problem if you’re trying to ski down a mountain slope with speed and precision.

The men’s downhill skiing competition, set to take place at 9 p.m. ET on Saturday night – 11 a.m. Sunday in Korea – was postponed due to the treacherous winds. The downhill training scheduled for Monday has also been cancelled.

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Officials later announced the men’s downhill event had been rescheduled for Thursday at the same time:

Olympians woke up Sunday to freezing temperatures and gusting winds. Athletes, coaches and media were all advised to stay away from the Jeongseon Alpine Center early in the morning:

About an hour later, the International Ski Federation announced that the day’s events had been postponed. And with good reason:

“Very strong winds, with gusts up to 72 kilometers per hour, that are expected to continue all day have forced the jury together with [the PyeongChang Organizing Committee] to postpone the event as originally scheduled at Jeongseon Alpine Centre,” the ISF said in a release on its website. “A committee comprised of [the International Olympic Committee], POCOG, and [ISF] officials will meet to determine a future date for the Olympic men’s downhill.”

That date, for various reasons, is Thursday. With the weather not expected to improve in the coming days, and with the skiing schedule already congested, it would have had to undergo significant revisions for the men’s downhill competition to be rescheduled for Monday.

It remains to be seen whether Monday’s events are affected by weather. High-speed winds are in the forecast again. There’s a chance star American skier Mikaela Shiffrin could have at least one of her events postponed.

Four Americans are set to compete in Sunday’s men’s downhill event. Bryce Bennett has the best chance to medal.

American skier Bryce Bennett during a training run at the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics. (Getty)
American skier Bryce Bennett during a training run at the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics. (Getty)

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