Freestyle Skiing

Pete Evans - Monday Feb. 17, 2014 08:33 ET

Sochi fog delays biathlon, snowboard cross

Fog Maciej Jodko
Polish snowboarder Maciej Jodko examines the fog-covered course. Bad weather has delayed events in Sochi today. (Mike Segar/Reuters)
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The sudden arrival of fog wreaked havoc on some Olympic events in Sochi early Monday, with the men's biathlon and snowboard cross events getting delayed.

Officials said conditions were OK at the bottom of the course, but the snowboard cross course had such heavy fog near the top that organizers were worried about competitors' safety.

The course is 1.2 kilometres long, and snowboarders have been clocked going 80 km/h along it at times. At speeds like that, you have to be able to see well in front of you.

German snowboarder Konstantin Schad said he could barely see 10 metres in front of him, so officials eventually pulled the plug. "There is no way of competing in fog — it's much too dangerous," Schad said.

"It would have been dangerous to ride because you couldn't see anything. It was a pure safety issue," coach Hans Riesch said.

The race has been postponed until Tuesday morning, and they'll dispense with qualifying round. Instead, boarders will be seeded based on their rankings this year, and they'll all compete in the first elimination round, the quarterfinals.

It's a similar story in men's biathlon, with officials pulling the plug and postponing Monday morning's event until tomorrow.

Late in the day, conditions started to improve, so there's a decent chance that the remaining outdoor events at Rosa Khutor park will get the go-ahead.

The main one is men's freestyle skiing aerials. Canadian Travis Gerrits has medal ambitions, having won a silver at the world championship, and being ranked fifth overall on the world cup circuit this year.

That competition is set to start at 8:45 a.m. ET and as the moment draws near, there's still no official word on whether or not it will be cancelled.

Leading up to the Olympics, there were more concerns than usual about weather in Sochi, because the city is actually a summer resort town in Russia and a lot of the snow here this week is man-made. 

But until Monday's cancellations, the weather has been co-operating for the most part.

With files from Olympics News Service

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