PYEONGCHANG, South Korea, Feb 8 (Reuters) - Race officials are considering alternative plans in case forecast high winds force the cancellation of Sunday’s men’s downhill but the option of moving the race forward by a day has already been rebuffed by Olympic officials.
International ski federation (FIS) Chief Race Director Markus Waldner said winds in excess of 30 knots (55.6 kph) would force the closure of the gondola that transports the skiers to the top of the mountain.
That would ensure the cancellation of the race at the Jeongseon Alpine Centre but a proposal to move it forward to Saturday, when more clement weather is forecast, had been rejected by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
“We are looking ahead because we are facing challenging conditions from Sunday,” he told the daily briefing of the Alpine skiing team captains on Thursday.
“We discussed moving the race forward to Saturday with the IOC but for many, many reasons, this is not an option. This is an IOC decision, we can only offer them a technical solution from a sporting position but they have made their decision.”
The men’s downhill, the opening race of the 2018 Olympics, is the blue riband event in Alpine skiing and would remain a “priority” within the rescheduling if the “highly accurate” local weather forecast was born out, Waldner added.
An emergency committee meeting would be held once the cancellation was confirmed to reschedule the races but those calculations could be complicated by continuing high winds throughout the early part of the 11 days of competition. (Reporting by Nick Mulvenney, editing by Amlan Chakraborty)