Deep freeze hits Winter Olympics

Print Article

Associated Press A soldier takes a break from shoveling snow and ice from the seating area at the Alpensia Ski Jumping Center Wednesday.

PYEONGCHANG, South Korea (AP) - When many athletes and officials woke up Wednesday, the temperature at Pyeongchang Olympic Stadium was minus 3 Fahrenheit (minus 16 Celsius). Sidewalks in the nearby mountain cluster were sparsely populated all day, save for some athletes, officials and media scurrying from building to building.

Those who did venture outside layered clothing under bulky jackets and stepped over icy mounds of old snow in sturdy boots. Olympic volunteers stationed at bus stops crowded around patio heaters, and few tourists appeared willing to brave the elements.

Competitors and spectators can't stay inside through the entire Pyeongchang Games, though, and with the wind chill at the Olympic Stadium projected at 14 degrees (-10 Celsius) for the opening ceremony Friday night, there's concern about their well-being.

In November, at least six people were treated for hypothermia after a pop concert at the open-air Olympic Stadium, and organizers are taking steps to avoid further health issues related to the cold. Attendees will be given kits with a poncho, a blanket, a beanie hat and heat packs for their seat, hands and feet, and Korea Meteorological Administration official Yoo Hee-Dong suggested via translator that "spectators need to wear their warm clothes."

Japan pulled athletes from a team welcome ceremony Wednesday in the coastal town of Gangneung because of the cold, but most athletes don't seem concerned with temperatures for Friday night. Americans have been told they will have a warm waiting area before marching, and many plan to leave shortly after the U.S. delegation walks - not uncommon at the Olympics.

The Americans will also be wearing battery-powered heated jackets, something that's assuaged concerns about ill effects from a long, cold night standing outside.

"I think it will be a pretty warm outfit," cross-country skier Sadie Bjornsen said. "Being there with the rejst of Team USA and representing your country and feeling that energy of all the sports and all the athletes coming together that have worked so hard, I'm hoping that will keep me warm."

Biathletes in particular are concerned about the cold and wind in competition. The sport is poorly suited to extreme cold, mostly because they can't fire their rifles if they're wearing bulky gloves.

"Trying to shoot precision rifle marksmanship when you can't feel your hands is fairly challenging," said American biathlete Lowell Bailey.

The biting wind may also be a factor. American biathlete Tim Burke still thinks hitting targets will be "doable," but says it will influence the results.

"You have to be on your toes throughout the race because the wind also changes direction, which is something you don't deal with all the time," he said.

The frosty weather will also affect the course for cross-country skiing, with the first event set for Saturday. American Rosie Brennan is anticipating slower snow because of the cold and the amount of man-made snow on the track. Racers will use harder waxes on their skis to help with grip, and many will wear face masks to help with breathing.

"The biggest danger for us is our lungs because we're breathing hard in the cold," Brennan said.

Print Article

Read More Sports News

No. 12 Oregon State holds off No. 2 Oregon

February 19, 2019 at 10:22 am | CORVALLIS, Ore. (AP) - Aleah Goodman had 22 points and No. 12 Oregon State snapped No. 2 Oregon's 17-game winning streak with a 67-62 victory on Monday night. It was just the second loss of the seas...

Comments

Read More

Iverson, Davison lift UW

February 19, 2019 at 10:19 am | MADISON, Wis. (AP) - With leading scorer Ethan Happ struggling, Wisconsin coach Greg Gard benched his star down the stretch and looked for someone else to lead the Badgers past Illinois. Brad Daviso...

Comments

Read More

Blackhawks hold off Senators 8-7

AP

February 19, 2019 at 10:20 am | CHICAGO (AP) - Alex DeBrincat had the best game of his career, and the Chicago Blackhawks needed all of his production. DeBrincat had three goals and two assists, and the Blackhawks held on to beat ...

Comments

Read More

QB coach brings familiar face for Rodgers on staff

February 19, 2019 at 10:22 am | GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) - When Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers gets ready for his 15th season, he'll be working with a new coach and offensive coordinator. Plus, for the first time in his c...

Comments

Read More

Contact Us

(608) 365-8811
149 State Street
Beloit, WI 53511

©2019 Beloit Daily News Terms of Use Privacy Policy
X