Mild Temperatures Cause Problems On The Mountains
Mild temperatures at the RusSki Gorki Jumping Center on Monday played havoc with Nordic combined training on the normal hill at the Sochi Olympics.
Temperatures of 15 Celsius (59 Fahrenheit) and sunny skies softened the snow in the landing area, forcing organizers to cancel the first of three jumps. The second session was postponed after an official said the first competitor fell while landing.
The same hill will be used for the last scheduled women's ski jumping training later Monday and the first women's final on Tuesday.
Competition manager Nikolay Petrov says "the snow in the outrun was too soft ... for the safety of the athletes we canceled the first jump."
The men's final in the Nordic combined normal hill is set for the same time Wednesday.
Another Good Day For Americans
Team U.S.A. has four medals through two days of the Sochi Games: two gold and two bronze.
The second gold for the U.S. came in women's snowboarding as Jamie Anderson of Lake Tahoe, Calif., won the women's slopestyle, just as fellow American Sage Kotsenburg did in the men's competition on Saturday. Anderson hit three high-flying jumps on her second, make-or-break trip down the mountain. She scored a 95.25 on that run to make America 2 for 2 in slopestyle's debut on the Olympic stage.
Team U.S.A. won the bronze in the first-ever team figure skating competition, with Russia finishing first and Canada second. The U.S. won the free dance portion of the event with world champion ice dancers Meryl Davis and Charlie White of Michigan.
There was big disappointment for the U.S. in Alpine skiing as Bode Miller finished eighth in the downhill. He was considered a pre-race favorite, based on practice times. Miller was more than a half-second slower than champion Matthias Mayer of Austria. Miller's quick times in practice came in perfect weather while the gold medal race was held under cloud cover, which Miller says made it tougher to see. The best finish by an American was fifth by Travis Ganong.
The upcoming Olympic schedule includes the women's super combined downhill and slalom, the men's 12 1/2 -kilometer pursuit and men's moguls. The U.S. women's hockey team takes on Switzerland, and the men's 1,500 final concludes the day's slate of short track speedskating. The American women's curling team faces Switzerland before the U.S. men's curlers go against Norway. There's also women's luge singles and the men's 500 speedskating.
American Freestyle Skier Won't Be Able To Compete
Maggie Voisin didn't come all this way to let a fractured leg keep her from experiencing the Olympics.
The 15-year-old freestyle skier won't be able to compete when slopestyle skiing makes its Olympic debut on Tuesday after she crashed during practice. She still managed to walk during the Opening Ceremonies and even with her Games over before they even begin; the youngest member of Team U.S.A. isn't to sprint home.
"It's sad but I can't dwell on this," Voisin said. "I want to enjoy the rest of the Olympics and enjoy what the experience has to offer."
Even if it means watching her teammates from the bottom of the tricky Rosa Khutor Extreme Park course rather than hanging out at the top. A fractured fibula in her right leg ended all that, but she's not blaming the 2,000-foot roller coaster covered in snow for her misstep.
"It was super safe, super fun," she said. "I got the flow. It was a good competition. We had a good run plan. Unfortunately, it was just freak accident. That's part of our sport. It was awful timing."
Then again, the teenager from Whitefish, Mont., has the benefit of time. An emerging star in a sport finding its legs in the mainstream, Voisin surprised even herself by making the Olympic team. All it did was deepen the drive that's already made her come so far, so fast.
"I'll be back," she said. "I'm not going anywhere."