BEIJING — The last alpine ski race of the Beijing Olympics has been moved from Saturday to Sunday due to too strong a wind, which has left Mikaela Shiffrin waiting for one last chance to win a medal from China.
Gusts reaching around 40 mph (65 kph) led to the announcement of two one-hour delays for the mixed team parallel event, before the International Ski Federation finally declared that it would not be possible to organize the competition on Saturday.
About 75 minutes later, after what the ski federation called a meeting “to discuss a possible postponement of the event,” the race was rescheduled for Sunday at 9:00 a.m. Beijing time.
The 2022 Olympics end on Sunday.
Snow was blowing around Saturday and blue and red flags whipped the race course known as Ice River at the National Alpine Skiing Center in the Yanqing area, about 90 kilometers northwest of central Beijing.
The gondola service to the race site has been temporarily interrupted.
It was only the second time the team event has been part of the Winter Games alpine program after making its debut at the Pyeongchang Olympics in 2018.
Athletes compete on parallel courses of giant slalom in a series of heats, and each nation is represented by women and men.
Only one of the 10 athletes who won an individual gold medal in Beijing was on the team lists released on Friday: Austria’s Johannes Strolz. He won the men’s combined last week and also picked up a silver medal in the slalom on Wednesday.
The team event would be Shiffrin’s sixth race at the Beijing Games. The two-time gold medalist at previous Olympics was named to the roster of the US team that was to face Slovakia in the first round.
The other members were Paula Moltzan, AJ Hurt, Tommy Ford, River Radamus and Luke Winters.
Shiffrin’s run from the past Olympics includes two gold medals, but her best performance in five individual events in Beijing was ninth in the super-G.
Otherwise, she finished 18th in the downhill and ended up with “Did Not Finish” results next to her name for three races: giant slalom, slalom and alpine combined.
The United States has won just one of 30 individual alpine medals – Ryan Cochran-Siegle’s silver in the super-G – the lowest total in the country since winning just one. only one at the Nagano Olympics in 1998.
Switzerland topped the Beijing standings after the individual events with nine medals, including a record five gold medals.
Other first-round matches in the team event: Switzerland v China; Italy against Russia; Norway versus Poland; France versus Czech Republic; Germany versus Sweden; and Slovenia versus Canada.
There were 15 countries entered in a 16-team bracket, so top-ranked Austria received a first-round bye.
Four years ago, Switzerland won gold in the team event, Austria silver and Norway bronze.