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Skiers struggle as real snow falls on olympics

14 February, 2022

 Skiers struggle as real snow falls on olympics

BEIJING - The Winter Olympics finally look like, well, the Winter Olympics. Real snow fell in Beijing on Sunday for the first time since the Olympics began, giving the city the appearance and feel of a real Winter Games. There was fresh snow in the mountains as well, where all events have been contested on artificial snow.

While the snow was mostly a welcome sight, up in the mountains it affected visibility and made it tougher for ski racers to make it down the hill, especially in the first run of the two-leg giant slalom. Marco Odermatt of Switzerland handled the snow and poor visibility better than anyone else and won his first Olympic gold medal. “I really risked everything in the second run because I wanted not just the medal, I wanted the gold medal,” Odermatt said. ”It’s difficult because you can lose everything but today it paid off.”

While a light snow fell Saturday, it came down a lot harder on Sunday, the first time it snowed during an Alpine race during the Beijing Olympics. The heavy snow forced the second run to be postponed by 1 hour, 15 minutes. During the delay, workers cleared snow from the course with snow blowers and shovels.

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“It was a hard day, with the conditions, with such a long wait between the two runs,” Odermatt said. “It was more than five hours for me, it was such a long time to re-think everything and it was hard to stay focused. I tried to sleep some minutes in between. “I actually never dreamt about it but now it still feels like a dream.”

Many other skiers had a rough day on the course known as The Ice River at the Yanqing Alpine Skiing Center. “It’s a shame what the weather is like. I was hoping for the sun, like on all the other days. Couldn’t see anything,” said Luca de Aliprandini of Italy, who was sixth after the first run but skied off course and didn’t finish the second run. “When I was going down, the flakes were big.”

American skier Tommy Ford came in 12th. “It’s great conditions on the course, but you can’t see it,” Ford said. “It was difficult for everyone,” said Henrik Kristoffersen of Norway, who was eighth overall. A second women’s downhill training run scheduled for Sunday was canceled.

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