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.
Officials later announced the men’s downhill event had been rescheduled for Thursday at the same time:
The jury has decided to switch the official program and has rescheduled the men's DH on Thursday 15.02 at 11:00 and the men's SG on Friday 16.02 at 11:00
— FIS Alpine (@fisalpine) February 11, 2018
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:
UPDATE – Jeongseon Alpine Centre (men’s downhill): due to strong winds, teams and media are asked to stay in the valley until further notice. The hill is currently closed to everyone. More info to come from the Jury ASAP. Stay tuned. #WinterOlympics
— U.S. Ski & Snowboard Team (@usskiteam) February 10, 2018
About an hour later, the International Ski Federation announced that the day’s events had been postponed. And with good reason:
Exhibit A: why men’s downhill was canceled today. Good news: it’s been rescheduled for Thurs in S. Korea. Watch it live Wednesday night on @NBCOlympics prime time. #winterolympics pic.twitter.com/ADCn3N9TKU
— Heather Cox (@HeatherCoxNBC) February 11, 2018
“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.
Since the weather won’t improve for 2-3 days, today’s men’s downhill postponement could cause havoc w/ Alpine race schedule. Prominent women’s events, which also happen to be Mikaela Shiffrin’s first 2 events are Mon & Wed. Wouldn’t be surprised to see downhill pushed to Thursday
— Bill Pennington (@billmpennington) February 10, 2018
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.
More Olympic coverage from Yahoo Sports:
• How the Olympics could unify Korea
• Dutch speedskating fans troll Donald Trump with message on flag
• Meet the bear-chasing, BMX-riding, ski-racing monster chasing an Olympic medal
• Earthquake hits roughly 100 miles from PyeongChang
• South Korea wins first gold in speed skating in unusual way