KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia (AP) A blazing sun was to blame for a hole dug at the top of the women’s downhill downhill course Monday.
It was so warm – about 5 or 6 degrees Celsius (41-43 Fahrenheit) – that skiers had to use what was at hand to keep cool before the downhill leg of the super-combined.
”There’s probably no snow left at the start because we were all putting it down our backs,” British skier Chemmy Alcott said. ”There’s definitely a hole. We were like, `Just shove it down.”’
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It was even warmer in the finish area, where both athletes and fans were seen stripping off their layers.
Alcott crouched down behind a bunch of journalists to protect her fair skin. ”I’m trying to hide from the sun here because I feel like I’m getting red,” she said.
The high temperatures also affected the race, with later starters having to deal with softer snow as it grew warmer and warmer.
”It was pretty warm snow and I don’t think I adapted to it well,” said American racer Stacey Cook, who missed a gate. ”It slides under your ski more.”
Laurenne Ross, another American, fell on the top portion of the course. Fortunately, she wasn’t injured.
Taking the temperatures into account, organizers injected the slalom course with water overnight to create a harder surface in the hope that it holds up for the second leg of the super-combi, which adds the times together from one downhill run and one slalom run.
It was 9 Celsius (48 Fahrenheit) shortly before the slalom leg.
– By Andrew Dampf – Twitter http://twitter.com/asdampf
Associated Press reporters will be filing dispatches about happenings in and around Sochi during the 2014 Winter Games. Follow AP journalists covering the Olympics on Twitter: http://apne.ws/1c3WMiu