Athletes have to compete not only with each other but also with nature

Hirscher almost became a victim of the drone. AFP photo

In December, Europe was hit by heavy snowfall. Bad weather has caused the cancellation of hundreds of flights. Injured athletes-winter – someone like girls all, due to strong wind and fog had to abandon the run in the Swiss resort of St. Moritz they did not complete a combination and then did not start and in the super-g. After all, if you’re flying at speeds over 100 km/h and poor visibility, and the wind can be fatal to health, despite several rows of meshes along the route.

And men of strength experienced French Val d’isere, and there, in spite of mercilessly bringing down snow, the organizers have approved of two attempts in giant slalom. Athletes complained that in addition to poor visibility it is difficult to feel the grip of the ski with the snow: below the ice, and on top of fresh snow. But the world Cup took place, and this discipline remained the strongest skier of our time – Austrian Marcel Hirscher. On his way, attempted not only weather – in December of 2015 on the road it almost killed the fallen TV drone. It landed just inches behind him.

“Intense air traffic in Italy,” joked Hirscher, narrowly escaped serious injury. But this incident is more the exception and often the athletes are fighting with the weather.


No stranger to weather surprises skiers and biathletes race may start melting the snow under the sun, and then, podrerzov in the shadows, to turn into ice, causing falls and debris on the turns. For example, in world Cup 2012 biathlon Championships in German Ruhpolding in the mass start at the turn to the stadium, where the girls on speed comes after a long descent, could not resist the Norwegian the Group (she went second) and put him on the snow six.

But the most extreme and at the same time scandalous biathlon race of recent years took place in 2013 in östersund. Before the women’s pursuit of wind almost ruined the starter town, but even the harbinger of a hurricane did not stop the organizers. Since the beginning of the second round of real snow-storm nearly demolished the girls from the road, tore glasses and strove to snatch from the hands of the rifle on the shooting range. Worse snow. Some stuck to shooting, turned into snowmen.

Rubbed two or three times, some were not quite. “The wind was incredible. On the second shooting waited until the first shot 30 seconds. I’m all covered with snow, but the struggle was really serious. Need to focus and wait,” – said the Belarusian Darya Domracheva.

“Half of my life flashed before my eyes on fire. Nothing was to be seen. The wind raised the snow whirls of snow not allowed to aim, pulling the rifle from his hands. It was very dangerous. I was thinking at that moment only about how to hit the target”, said Russia’s Ekaterina Iourieva.

But the number of women headed Domracheva already passed three firing lines, I prepared myself for the final test and finish the segment. Jet Belarusian prima was close to the victory and the lead in the overall standings. But then the organizers of the “woke up” and stopped the race, doubly mocking the girls first, despite the forecasts, left them to battle with the elements, and then, when they had actually won it, just brought all efforts to nothing. Domracheva: “When I was stopped on the rise, was a big disappointment, as this was serious work with him, with the wind. It was a shame”.


Themselves admit as jumpers from the trampolines, dangerous their attempts to do two factors: windy weather and poor physical fitness. And if the form – entirely on the conscience of the athlete, to tame the unpredictable gusts of wind sometimes fails even the most experienced flying skiers. One of the worst drops in the history of jumps occurred in 2007 in Zakopane. During the second flight Jan Masoch the wind direction changed dramatically, Cech has lost control of the skis and fell hard on a mountain landing. Not regaining consciousness, he was taken to the hospital of Krakow with a traumatic brain injury where for two days he lay in an induced coma.

Seven months later, appeared on the training, and even performed in summer Continental Cup, but never gained the same form and overcame the fear of ending a career at the age of 21.

But the Austrian Thomas Morgenstern, no matter how fallen, to 2014 kept coming back, becoming a three-time Olympic champion: “you can’t remove the fear. This feeling will be with you before each jump, you’ll have to live with him.” The most terrible incident with his participation is a drop in the Finnish Kuusamo in 2003 with a very unstable wind conditions. The jump Thomas intervened the wind at the margin. The drop was heartbreaking, the doctors feared for his health. But 17-year-old Thomas got off with bruises, scratches and a broken finger and competed in a month.

Today, the speed and the wind direction control special sensitive sensors installed along the ramp. “The wind flow is never linear, it is always wavy. We make the corridor to the top and bottom, the wind speed was about 2.5 m/s,” explained flight Director of the world Cup, Walter Hofer. If the wind is outside of the corridor and blows stronger, jump stop, and the athlete must leave the starting tower. After all, any blow can knock an athlete off course. From strong side winds uphill acceleration protects the metal mesh. When the wind speed reaches 10 m/s, the grid reduces it.


Victims of natural disasters are even those athletes who are used to play indoors. Know that in my experience the Olympic champion of 2014, Japanese skater Yuzuru the Han.

11 Mar 2011 his hometown of Sendai was near the epicenter of the strongest earthquake in Japanese history, when the East of the country suffered from a 9-point shaking and tsunami. At this time, the 16-year-old Yuzuru was just in training, and when it all started, he had to rush to the shelter just in skates. Skater managed to evacuate before the rink was destroyed, and sat in the shelter, also got his family, four days. “Even now, when I close my eyes, remember how to shake the ice, the earth is shaking, shaking legs, recalls the event the Han. I was afraid that I would die under the rubble.”


Fans of winter sports used to cancel the competition because of snow or hurricanes, but occasionally it happens that tournaments can prevent heat.

For example, in February 2017 skiers and could not go to the route of the American Birkebeiner, the largest race in North America, only the second time in the 44 year history of the competition. Wine that is too warm and rainy weather in Wisconsin and the lack of snow.

But the two finalists of the Stanley Cup-1988 “hothouse” conditions stopped immediately. In the fourth game between the Edmonton oilers and the “Boston Bruins” 24 may was so warm that the arena “Boston garden”, at that time not equipped with air conditioning, clouded! On the street then it was 22 degrees, and in the arena came up to 26. Hockey players continued to play until, until when the score is 3:3 not knocked out electricity. The organizers assured that the mist is nothing to do with it, but among fans there was a legend that in fact the light is lost due to abnormal weather in the arena. The match had to be replayed in Edmonton, where winning the championship was won by the hosts.

Recall that recently in Lviv, a snow storm blew off the match of the Ukrainian championship Karpaty “Olympic”.

And in September the match of the qualifying tournament of the world championship 2018 Croatia – Kosovo are unable to play due to heavy rain.

Interestingly, during the Olympic games in 2016, the rain broke a rowing competition, after which the audience began to dance.

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