On Cue, Skiing Re-enters the Spotlight Ahead of Olympics – World News

On Cue, Skiing Re-enters the Spotlight Ahead of Olympics

Beaver Creek, Col – Everywhere except in the Alps, ski racing flies under the radar most of the time.

And then, every four years, an Olympic Games arrives and with the flick of a switch, ski racers once again capture one’s imagination, catching a glimpse of the high-speed daredevilry that sweeps across Europe and northern Europe. Known to survive the winter in America. As in the “white circus”.

In an Olympic season, the potential of the Games and the glory and wealth it can provide looms large at every turn and snowflake. Every result becomes an indication of who is scoring goals in form and who still has work to do and what could happen in early February when the world’s eyes turn to this rare game.

The men’s half of that roadshow descended on Colorado’s Rocky Mountains this weekend for an event known as Birds of Prey, featuring the usual collection of speed hounds, which many sports scientists have named the best all-around. Winter sports athletes count. They glide down a nearly two-mile sheet of ice at speeds of about 80 mph on a pair of fiberglass composite sticks. During the first three days of racing, he did nothing to take away his courageous reputation, with Norway’s Alexander Aamodt Kilde winning two of the first three races to reclaim his claim as the best of the best. Even though he tore the knee ligament in less than one time. year ago.

A final downhill is scheduled for Sunday afternoon.

Kilde is the 2019-20 overall champion and half-skiing power couple, as the boyfriend of Mikaela Shiffrin, arguably the world’s top female skier, has the chance to add an armload of medals. Beijing Olympics, She is a lovely local who makes her home a town close to Vail, which is only a few blocks away. Although Shiffrin struggled in her downhill race at Lake Louise this weekend, she won her 71st World Cup race, and 46th in slalom, last weekend in Vermont, and is one of the sport’s biggest stars.

“He’s awesome,” Kilde said on Saturday after breaking the downhill course to win over Austria’s Mathias Meyer by two-thirds of a second and read Schiffrin’s congratulatory message. “We’re good to each other.”

Looking for signs ahead of Beijing? Kilde and Shifrin are on their way to be the gold pair of sports. NBC, the Olympic broadcaster in the United States, loves its golden joints.

This race is happening this entire weekend, it’s a miracle. Despite some sporadic snowfall over the past month, the Colorado Mountains have had a pleasant of late weather, with chilly nights and mornings giving way to bright, 50-degree afternoons. With the exception of a few runs, the mountains are mostly dull shades of green and brown.

Technicians spent weeks flying man-made snow in an uphill battle to build a suitable base and get approval from the International Federation of Inspectors of Skiing to proceed. It was touch-and-go until the final days, and hundreds of workers worked long hours to maintain the narrower than normal strip of ice for the race.

“The terrain isn’t quite as much as we’re used to,” said America’s Top Speed ​​skier Ryan Cochran-Siegel, who finished sixth in the downhill on Saturday, an encouraging result for someone who’s had a brutal crash and broken last season. Ended up with a neck.

While the Beijing Games are short-lived elephants on the ski hill, climate change is long-term. Ski racing couldn’t happen without cold temperatures and snow. The short winters at the start and end of the World Cup season are rapidly shrinking and making summer training on high-altitude glaciers more uncertain.

Weather sports became essential tactic this week, with top racers competing for a start early in the schedule before the course begins with a combination of sun, warm temperatures and ski edges.

Alpine skiing at the 2022 Olympics will take place in the Yanqing district, where it should be very cold, but where it rarely happens and every flake ski racer will be man-made. Skiers really like it that way, as man-made snow gives them the hard, densely packed and consistent surface they like and feel safest.

They are less enthusiastic about traveling to a mountain where they have not competed in a host country with a government that has become increasingly authoritarian. Amid Beijing’s response to sexual harassment allegations leveled by tennis star Peng Shuai against a top Communist Party leader, the recent call for a boycott of the Games and complaints against the International Olympic Committee for embracing China’s government has been done.

“It’s a big problem, and I’m not afraid to say it,” Norwegian veteran and five-time Olympic medalist Kjetil Jansud, 36, said after finishing his 14th on Thursday. “As athletes, we’re stuck in the middle.”

A day later, Jansarud faced another problem when he crashed violently while coming out of a wide bend of the course. Jansarud fell out of bounds at about 60 mph, his skis being helicoptered into a net on one side of the slope.

American men who have been snakebite from injuries over the past few seasons have so far made a clean skid as they try to return to the standard that now-retired stars such as Bode Miller and Ted Ligeti set on the World Cup tour over the past 15 years . ,

Travis Ganong, a 33-year-old Californian who tore a major knee ligament a few years ago, recorded the most encouraging result, finishing third in Friday’s Super-G race.

“We needed it,” said the team’s elder politician, 39-year-old Steve Nyman, who is returning from his series injuries. “You see there’s a guy on the podium who sets us all on fire.”

The Swiss and Austrians, who generally rule the game, often don’t need much firing, but they’ve got their fair share in the past few days. Switzerland’s Marco Odermatt, a rapidly rising 24-year-old, won the Super-G on Thursday, took second Friday, and is likely to carry on his country’s alpine traditions.

And if it’s an Olympic year, it’s a safe bet that Meyer, one of the younger skiers on the tour, will discover his unique form, an upside-down U like skiing in his trademark position. Meyer was the downhill Olympic champion in 2014 and the Super-G champion in 2018. Meyer finished second in Thursday’s Super-G and sat in the leader’s seat for half an hour on Saturday before Kilde ousted him.

“I’ve brought my confidence from yesterday,” Kilde said after her second win in a row. “A great feeling.”

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