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Disruptive winds have downhill competitors on edge at Jeongseon

Reuters

Kjetil Jansrud of Norway trains for the men’s downhill at the Jeongseon Alpine Center on Saturday.

Reuters PYEONGCHANG (Reuters) — Organizers need to do everything possible to ensure that the Olympic men’s downhill is run in good conditions, leading medal contenders said on Friday after high winds disrupted the second training run for Sunday’s race.

The traditional curtain-raiser to the Alpine skiing program at the Winter Olympics, the downhill is scheduled to take place on Sunday when winds in excess of 55.6 kph are forecast for the Jeongseon Alpine Center.

Friday’s training session was delayed by 30 minutes and was run on a shorter course because of gusting winds at the top of the mountain.

Norwegian Kjetil Jansrud posted the second best time after benefiting from tail-winds and said maintaining the integrity of the competition was paramount if the race needed to be rescheduled.

“The message we got is that they want to do the downhill from the top in fair conditions,” said the 2014 Olympic Super G champion.

“I’m thankful to hear that because that’s the way it should be in the Olympics. We do have reserve days and if it’s more windy than today, the gondola’s not going to run so then we have a major problem and [the race] is not going to happen.

“If that happens, I hope they give good consideration before running it because if there are tail-winds, it will have a huge impact on the race.”

International Ski Federation (FIS) chief race director Markus Waldner said at Friday’s team captains’ meeting that organizers were prepared for a lot more disruption over the next four days and planning accordingly.

The option of shifting the downhill forward to Saturday has already been ruled out by the International Olympic Committee so it looks like the program will have to be rejigged.

Waldner said organizers would proceed with planning to race on Sunday with the first alternative being to move it to Monday at noon local time, between the two runs of the women’s giant slalom at the Yongpyong Alpine Center.

If they were unable to run the downhill before Thursday, then it would replace the Super G in the schedule with the other speed race shifting to Friday, currently a rest day.

“Today was right at the limit but okay for a training run,” Waldner said. “We have some challenging days ahead.”Speech

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