Fog cancels snowboardcross
KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia (AP) – The Olympic men’s snowboardcross has been pushed back to Tuesday because of fog.
Officials postponed the race early Monday afternoon when a heavy fog blanketing Rosa Khutor Extreme Park failed to lift.
The decision came after officials scrubbed the seeding runs originally set for 10 a.m. local time. The expected 1:30 p.m. start of the elimination rounds came and went with visibility still low.
Tuesday’s race will be under a modified format. There will be no qualifying and instead the racers will be bracketed based on their world ranking.
There will be seven heats of five riders each and one heat of four. The top three in each will advance to the quarterfinal rounds. Nate Holland and Trevor Jacob of U.S. will ride in the same opening heat.
“This fog, it’s super dense up there,” said Holland, a seven-time X Games winner in search of his first Olympic medal. “It’s the Olympics. We want to have the best rider win and not have anything screwy.”
The delay was the first at the Extreme Park, which had been the home to sunny skies, comfortable temperatures and slushy snow during the first week-plus of the games.
“I called it as soon as I got here, that there would be bad weather on the day I race,” Australian snowboardcross racer Jarryd Hughes said. “It can’t stay sunny the whole time for that long.”
The postponement is the second up in the Caucasus Mountains. Officials pushed back the men’s 15-kilometer mass-start biathlon race from Sunday to Monday and then again from Monday to Tuesday because of fog.
While some venues at the Extreme Park have been panned, the snowboardcross course has been praised by both the men’s and women’s riders. Women’s Olympic champion Eva Samkova of the Czech Republic called conditions perfect during her winning run on Sunday and Holland was anxious to fire down it on Monday but praised the caution used by officials.
“We’re going to be going big off those jumps,” Holland said. “It’s nice to be able to see where you’re going.”
In other Olympic news, Russia is having a tough time winning on the Olympic ice, and the Netherlands can’t seem to lose.
The Russians were forced into a second straight shootout on Sunday and now must play an extra game to reach the men’s hockey quarterfinals. The Dutch speedskaters have fared much better, earning a third sweep of the podium at the Sochi Games.
With hockey-crazed Russian crowds packing the arenas, Canada, Sweden, the United States and Finland advanced to the hockey quarterfinals. They’ll be joined by the winners of a four-game qualifying round next Tuesday among the eight remaining teams.
Russia lost its chance to skip the qualifying round when it was forced into a shootout by Slovakia, winning 1-0. That allowed Finland to claim the bye on goal difference. Canada, Sweden and the U.S. all finished the qualifying round undefeated.
At the Adler Arena, Dutch skaters swept the podium in the women’s 1,500 meters. Overall, the Dutch have won an astounding 16 speedskating medals in Sochi out of 24 awarded so far, smashing the Olympic record of 13 set by East Germany at the 1988 Calgary Games.
Two snowboarders were taken off the slope on stretchers Sunday following crashes during qualifying rounds for the snowboardcross finals. One suffered a concussion, the other an injured knee.
Elsewhere on Day 10 of the Sochi Olympics, Norwegian skier Kjetil Jansrud earned his country’s fourth consecutive Olympic title in men’s super-G; Czech snowboarder Eva Samkova won her country’s first gold medal of the games; and Sweden took gold in the men’s 4×10-kilometer cross-country relay.
ALPINE SKIING: Jansrud continued Norway’s dominance in super-G, outracing two Americans and a Canadian for the Scandinavian country’s fifth gold in the event in the past seven games. Andrew Weibrecht earned the silver medal, while American teammate Bode Miller and Jan Hudec of Canada tied for bronze. It was Miller’s sixth Olympic medal, At 36, Miller is the oldest Alpine skier to medal.
SNOWBOARDING: Samkova won the women’s snowboardcross, the first gold of the games for the Czech Republic. Samkova led from start to finish in all three qualifying and elimination races. Lindsey Jacobellis of the U.S. crashed while leading her semifinal, the third straight disappointing Olympic finish for the eight-time X Games winner.
CROSS-COUNTRY: Sweden’s win in the 4×10-kilometer relay came one day after the Swedish women had won gold in the same race. No country has won both relays since the old Soviet Union did it 42 years ago. Russia took silver in front of President Vladimir Putin. France finished third.
SPEEDSKATING: Jorien ter Mors earned the gold in the Dutch sweep of the women’s 1,500. Pre-race favorite Ireen Wust settled for silver, with bronze going to Lotte van Beek.
CURLING: Sweden and Canada became the first men’s teams to qualify for the semifinals. Norway, Britain and China are battling for the other two spots. The Swedes and Canadians also advanced to the semifinals in the women’s tournament.
HOCKEY: Phil Kessel became the first American player in 12 years to score an Olympic hat trick in the 5-1 U.S. win over Slovenia. Canada defeated Finland 2-1 in overtime, while Austria won its first men’s Olympic hockey game in a dozen years, defeating Norway 3-1. In the women’s preliminaries, Finland topped Germany 2-1 and Russia beat Japan 6-2. All four had already been eliminated from medal contention.