With temperatures rising on the Black Sea coast, the Sochi Olympics are starting to feel more like the Summer Games.
On Monday, these Sub-Tropical Olympics really started to heat up with temperatures soaring to 16 degrees C (61 degrees F). That led to skiers in the mountains above Sochi putting snow in their racing suits to cool down, and left ski jumpers landing in puddles.
“I’m trying to hide from the sun here because I feel like I’m getting red,” said Chemmy Alcott, a British skier who competed in the super-combined race.
The weather could get even warmer by the end of the week.
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Organisers said the temperature could reach 17 C (63 F) on Thursday.
But even up in Krasnaya Polyana, where the outdoor events are being held, temperatures were well above freezing.
“It was pretty warm snow and I don’t think I adapted to it well,” said American skier Stacey Cook, who missed a gate in the slalom leg of the super-combined. “It slides under your ski more.”
At the RusSki Gorki Jumping Centre, organisers canceled the first of three jumps after sunny skies and 15 C (59 F) temperatures softened the snow in the landing area. The second session was postponed after an official said the first competitor fell while landing.
When training resumed, only 38 of 55 starters made jumps in each of the two rounds. The mountain venues are expected to return to freezing on Tuesday, organisers said. But from Wednesday, warmer weather is in the forecast.
Canada, Germany win
Canada and Germany added to their gold medal hauls on Monday, while Russia basked in the afterglow of its first title of the Games after the team figure skating victory captivated the host nation.
The inaugural team event was a personal triumph for President Vladimir Putin, who has staked his reputation on staging a successful Games.
State television followed the beaming 61-year-old as he congratulated and shook hands with the skaters.
On the third full day of competition, Canada lead the medals table with two golds, two silvers and one bronze, while Russia are in sixth spot.
German Maria Hoefl-Riesch found herself trailing after the downhill leg before using her slalom skills to vault into first place and successfully defend her Olympic title. She finished less than a second ahead of both silver medalist Nicole Hosp of Austria and Julia Mancuso of the United States, who won the bronze.
Charles Hamelin of Canada raced to the 1,500-metre short track speedskating gold, and Viktor Ahn earned the bronze to give Russia its first-ever short track medal and Martin Fourcade won the 12.5-kilometre biathlon pursuit.
Michel Mulder of the Netherlands won the men’s 500 meters Olympic speed skating title by the tightest of margins on Monday, with his twin brother Ronald settling for bronze in another Dutch clean sweep of the medals. Mulder clocked a total time of 69.31 seconds for his two 500m races, pipping compatriot Jan Smeekens by just 0.01 seconds. Ronald Mulder was 0.15 seconds behind his brother.