World News

Warm Weather Disrupting Sochi Games

A spell of warm weather is disrupting events at the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, presenting a challenge for Olympic organizers with temperatures forecast to rise again this week.

Athletes have voiced concerns that melting and soft snow is hampering their ability to compete.

On Tuesday, a training session for Alpine skiing downhill was canceled to protect the snow, while mild weather conditions meant a slushy track for a Nordic Combined event.

Some athletes in the men's biathlon 12.5-kilometer pursuit Monday fell while skiing on a course softened by warm weather.

The head of the Sochi Olympics, Dmitry Chernyshenko, said Tuesday there is no need yet to use emergency snow reserves at mountain venues. But he said organizers are ready to do so if necessary.





"You know that we had a special program to secure the snow, and the snow is still in some reservoirs, that survived over the previous summer, so in case we will need some snow we can use it from our reservoir."



Chernyshenko also spoke in glowing terms about the atmosphere at the Sochi Games, calling it "electric."



"Great conditions for the visitors and spectators to come and have fun and greet our athletes, and this is great that in terms it creates the atmosphere in the Games which is electric now, with a crowd of people gathering all venues."



In Sochi, a Black Sea resort city with a subtropical climate, the average February temperatures are around 10 degrees Celsius. But on Monday, the high was about 16, and after a brief cool down, they could return to the mid-teens on Thursday.

The current conditions have put Sochi on track to be the warmest Winter Olympics in history.

In results Tuesday, Canadian freestyle skier Dara Howell won the women's slopestyle event. She beat American Devin Logan and fellow Canadian Kim Lamarre, giving her country the overall lead in gold medals with nine.

Norway later recaptured the lead, courtesy of big performances by two of its Nordic skiers. Ola Vigen Hattestad won the men's cross-country sprint, and Maiken Caspersen Fallas did likewise in the women's event.

In the men's halfpipe, American snowboarder Shaun White will go for his third straight Olympic gold medal Tuesday. He produced the best score in Tuesday's qualifying heats of 95.75.

Also Tuesday, the International Olympic Committee lifted its ban on India that had been in place since 2012, when India's Olympic Association elected tainted officials. India elected new officials Sunday, clearing the way for its flag to be raised in the Olympic Village.

There are 98 medal events at the Sochi Games, 12 more than in Vancouver in 2010.
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