Olympic organizers shut down the ski slopes and then reduced the cross-country course by 40 percent.
They continued to push forward in the halfpipe, but that quickly turned into a complete mess.
Mother Nature was at work in the mountains surrounding Beijing as the Winter Games drew near. At several outdoor events, gusts of up to 40 mph (65 km/h) caused delays and chaos. On Friday, Olympians were miserable due to wind chills as low as minus 26 degrees Fahrenheit (minus32 degrees Celsius).
Mikaela Shifrin was hoping for a medal-worthy finish at the maddening Games. However, Mikaela’s hopes were dashed when the mixed team parallel event was delayed. In the meantime, the men’s 50-kilometer cross country ski race was postponed and shortened to 30 km.
The halfpipe went as planned for men’s freestyle skiers, but not as expected. Although riders reduced the difficulty of their runs, many fell in the windy conditions.
David Wise, American silver medalist, said that he had prepared so much. It was like I made a meal for everyone and didn’t get to enjoy it.
Indoors, chaos also appeared. Nana Takagi, the defending champion, crashed out of the semifinals for the mass start. This was the second time that the Japanese speedskater had fallen while leading a race at Beijing. Takagi fell and her left hand touched rinkside padding. She then slid onto her side into outer padding.
New Zealand’s Nico Porteous was delighted to be able to ski the halfpipe using a men’s freestyle ski gold.
The American replied, “I mean I’m alive.”
Porteous fell to his death while trying a double cork 1440. He had done two 1620-degree spins earlier — one to his right and one to his left — which gave him a score of 95. This was a huge lead that nobody could overcome.
Porteous stated that the last trick was “bit of a stupid choice to do that”. It’s the Olympics. You can’t leave anything out.
Some skiers said that snow pellets and clouds occasionally infiltrated halfpipe.
Gus Kenworthy, 2014 silver medalist, said, “Pretty gritty,” despite falling into the deck one time.
Shiffrin is a two-time gold medalist. She went 0 for 5hunting a second medal in Beijing, but hopes to win one in her sixth race. This team event will be making its first appearance at the Winter Games. Shiffrin has two gold medals from the past Olympics, but her best performance in Beijing in five individual events was in the super-G.
Wind caused two-hour delays to the mixed team event. The International Ski Federation then announced that the competition would be cancelled on Saturday.
After a meeting called by the ski federation “to discuss potential rescheduling,” 75 minutes later the race was moved to Sunday at 9:00, 11 hours before closing ceremonies.
SKIING THRU IT
Alexander Bolshunov ran to his third Olympic gold medal in the 30-kilometer cross-country ski race mass start. The race was shortened by wind and cold and was rescheduled.
In the final kilometer, the Russian was part of a breakaway group consisting of five men. He continued climbing into the stadium and won the title in 1:11, 32.7 seconds. Russian teammate Ivan Yakimushkin crossed over the line 5.5 seconds later for silver. Simen Hegstad Krueger, from Norway, took bronze 7 seconds later.
Irene Schouten, from the Netherlands, won her third gold medal at the Beijing Olympics. She was chasing down Ivanie Blondin of Canada to win the women’s mass start.
Schouten was the fastest speedskating star of the Winter Games with a determined push to surpass Blondin in the final event. Blondin took the lead at the backstraight but Schouten surged to take the win with an intense sprint to the line.