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平昌冬奥会或成史上最冷 加拿大运动员都扛不住了 Winter Olympics 2018: Will Pyeongchang be too cold for a Winter Games?

中国日报网 2018-02-08 14:01



2018年2月7日,中国花样滑冰队在韩国江陵冰上运动场展开训练,备战即将开幕的2018平昌冬奥会。 新华社记者鞠焕宗摄

The 2018 Winter Olympics may set a record for being the coldest since the 1994 games.

Concerned athletes are already shivering on social media, so what will seriously sub-zero temperatures mean for events, for the equipment, and for the competitors and fans getting ready for 17 days of action?


Between -2C and -5C for the opening ceremony - starting at 20:00 local time on Friday- according to the Korean Meteorological Administration's news conference on Wednesday.

The agency says this is "on par" with average February temperatures in previous years of around 0C with temperatures at night getting down to around -10C. To date, the 1994 edition in Lillehammer, Norway, was the coldest Games on record with a low of -11C.

At nearly half a mile above sea level, Pyeongchang is regarded as one of the coldest regions of South Korea, and is Earth's coldest location for its latitude.

It's the windchill factor.

At the opening ceremony rehearsal on Saturday, biting winds dropped the temperature to -23C. The agency said spectators should "brace themselves" and Olympics officials have warned everyone attending to "wrap up and prepare properly".



Because of the freezing temperatures, Pyeongchang is susceptible to variable levels of snowfall. Major snowstorms are a rarity in the area, and in February 2017 it snowed on just seven days with an average snowfall of 6.3cm.

It's a concern shared by Games organisers who, as a result, have brought in snow cannons to produce it artificially at a cost of £4.4m.

At the Yongpyong Alpine Centre - which will host slalom and giant slalom alpine skiing races - 250 snow guns served by three pumping stations have been installed.

2018年2月7日,参加2018平昌冬奥会的速度滑冰运动员在韩国江陵速滑馆训练备战。 新华社记者鞠焕宗摄


"The wind is the worst - you walk around the Olympic village and it is like a nightmare," says Canadian skeleton racer Kevin Boyer.

"It's funny because coming from Canada we talk about being used to the cold but this is a cold we haven't seen before."

The first real test will be Friday's opening ceremony, with reports that some athletes may miss it altogether. The Italian team has already told any staff with existing health issues to skip the curtain-raiser and has reminded its athletes to keep moving at all times.

The US team have specially heated jackets for the opening ceremony, while Australian freestyle skier Lydia Lassila has turned down the opportunity to carry her nation's flag into the opening ceremony to avoid the cold before competition.

Team GB have, after a "significant" amount of planning, designed a kit geared around both "performance and warmth".



"One of the coaches said they are throwing the skis out after today," said ski course technician Craig Randell, overseeing practice on Wednesday. "You can't do anything about it, but with the cold temperatures the snow adheres to the ski base and twists it.

"They are turning their skis to garbage real fast."

Austrian alpine skier Marcel Hirscher added: "Snow crystals get really sharp when temperatures go to -20C. It's the same as lighting a fire and burning your ski base because the snow crystals get such sharp edges."

Such icy surfaces can make competing difficult, with skiers and snowboarders struggling to dig their edges in to make turns. That said, if the ice is smooth it makes for the ultimate piste condition for the speed skiing events of downhill and super-G.


The Pyeongchang Olympic Stadium - where the opening and closing ceremonies will take place - was built without a roof in order to save time, but it's a decision that organisers could come to regret given the current temperature forecast.

Costing $58m to build, the stadium also lacks central heating as it was deemed too expensive for the arena, which will be dismantled after the conclusion of March's Winter Paralympic Games.

According to reports, six people who attended a concert at the pentagonal stadium in December were treated for hypothermia, while others huddled in bathrooms to take a break from the icy cold.

As a result, each of the 43,000 spectators expected to attend the opening ceremony on Friday will receive heating pads, a blanket, a warm seat cushion and a raincoat, while 18 heat shelters, 40 large heaters and windshields have been put up.

Organisers are also planning audience participation during pre-ceremony entertainment in order to keep spectators as warm as possible.


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