Sochi Olympic officials have rescheduled tomorrow’s men’s Super-G ski race, moving up the start time by an hour in an attempt to deal with temperatures that are creating a slushy covering on the mountain.
The competition will start at 10 a.m. tomorrow, officials said. Today’s women’s race brought complaints from athletes, and the snow and a difficult course meant that 8 of the first 11 women down failed to finish.
The women’s Super-G started at 11 a.m. when it was 10 degrees Celsius (50 degrees Fahrenheit). The forecast for tomorrow is for 6 degrees at 9 a.m. at the top of the mountain.
American Bode Miller will compete tomorrow as he tries again to become the oldest alpine skiing medalist after finishing out of the medals in his first two races in this Games.
It’s also an opportunity for Norway’s Aksel Lund Svindal, who has been shut out as well in Sochi. He is the 2013 downhill world champion and leader of the world cup standings for the downhill season.
Today’s women’s race was won by Austria’s Anna Fenninger in 1 minute, 25.52 seconds, 0.55 seconds faster than Germany’s Maria Hoefl-Riesch, 29. Fenninger’s compatriot Nicole Hosp, 30, won the bronze after taking the silver in the super combined.
Women’s downhill bronze medalist Lara Gut of Switzerland was fourth. She was one of the favorites for the event, and said the weather and slushy snow is disrupting the games.
“There is no snow at the bottom, it’s not funny any more,” she said. “This is a disaster, it was a shame for everybody. I think the last part was a bit too much. Everybody was crashing around. I don’t know if this is the best way to show off our skiing. It’s not a race, you are just trying to come down.”
About 37 percent of the field didn’t finish today, beating the mark of 29 percent from the last games in Vancouver. The weather, combined with a difficult course, meant many athletes quit.
“It’s a fair course,” said Florian Winkler, who the designer and the Austrian alpine coach. “You have to ski technically. It’s not a simple course. You can’t always go in full gas, you have to take tactics. I was surprised by the number of girls who skied out -- it was a day of mistakes for many.”
International Olympic Committee spokesman Mark Adams said while the weather was unpredictable, the Sochi organizers have been keeping the snow in a good condition, pointing out that no competitions have been canceled or moved. The 2010 Olympics in Canada also had to deal with warm temperatures, he said.