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Olympics: No deep freeze? No problem, say Sochi Games organisers

Reuters, Wednesday 12 Feb 2014
the 2014 Winter Olympics
Fans watch the women's downhill competition at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia (Photo: AP)
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The sun is shining and temperatures feel more like spring than winter but at the Sochi Olympics - the ultimate spectacle of ice and snow - that is not a problem.

Quizzed about whether some events might have to be postponed if the mild weather melts all the snow, the International Olympic Committee said there was nothing to worry about.

"We are getting a little bit premature here," IOC spokesman Mark Adams told reporters on Wednesday.

"I was at some of the events yesterday and it doesn't seem to me to be an issue. I gather snow is coming at the weekend and that temperatures will go down."

Before more snow arrives, temperatures are forecast to crawl up further in the next two days, to a high of around 16 degrees Celsius in Sochi and around 10 degrees in the nearby mountains.

Adams said previous winter Games had seen postponements of events but that was not the case in Sochi so far.

"I think I am right in saying, everything has happened and on schedule so far, so if this is a problem then let's have more of them. It seems quite good," Adams said.

Sochi's pitch to the IOC to host the Games focussed heavily on the contrasting climates of subtropical Sochi and the snow-capped mountains of Krasnaya Polyana and Adams said it was proving to be an ideal setting.

"I love the blue sky. The pictures are fantastic. The first day of the slopestyle was just breathtaking and, by the way, it's a bit chilly in the evenings," he said.

"I was up at the snow pipe last night, I think it got down to minus something, so it seems to be freezing in the night.

"In a lot of ski resorts it's a similar picture so actually, at this stage, I do not think it is a problem."

On Tuesday, some athletes complained that the warm temperatures were starting to affect the quality of the snow, but just a day later they were relishing the glorious sunshine.

"Yesterday it was pretty fast. Today was even faster, faster than the downhill race," said Alpine skier Alexis Pinturault.

"The snow is softer. It was pleasant. The ground is excellent but it goes faster and you can easily be taken by surprise by the speed.

"We have to do things faster than yesterday. You have to get used to this kind of snow."

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