Organizers scramble as weather disrupts penultimate day of Beijing Games

Organizers scrambled to reorganize the Alpine mixed team parallel race for the final day of the Beijing Olympics after high winds on Saturday forced the competition to be postponed.

Team officials and organizers agreed to hold the event, which is only its second edition, on Sunday at 9 a.m. despite several teams being scheduled to fly home.

The decision is likely to mean some teams have to rearrange their flights and accommodation bookings but it was not immediately clear if all would remain to compete.

Alpine team officials will hold their usual pre-race “captains’ meeting” at 5 p.m. when the start list will be agreed upon, and only then will it be clear how many of the 15 teams will remain in the rescheduled event.

Olympics and International Ski Federation (FIS) officials were keen to avoid the complications that would come with the rare case of an event not being held.

The closing ceremony for the Beijing Games is on Sunday at 8 p.m.

The weather forecast for Sunday is for slightly better wind conditions earlier in the day.

On Saturday at 9 a.m., gusts were recorded as between 24 and 28 meters per second. On Sunday gusts are projected to be between 19 and 22 m/s at that time.

The weather also disrupted competition at the National Cross-Country Centre in Zhangjiakou.

The men’s 50 km cross-country mass start, one of the sport’s top events, was postponed by an hour and shortened to 30 km due to the high winds.

Not everybody in the field was happy with the decision.

“Of course athletes health comes first but we knew it was gonna be cold. … Look to other sports who moved their events a day earlier. This is not the way to go if we want to develop our sport!” Irish skier Thomas Maloney Westgaard tweeted.

The women’s 12.5 km biathlon event, originally scheduled for Saturday, was brought forward to Friday due to weather concerns.

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