New start list
In contrast to yesterday, only the start list has changed slightly. Vincent Kriechmayr (start number 1) will be the first athlete to take to the track in bright sunshine and will start the race for the gold medal on the Olympic downhill ahead of DSV runner Dominik Schwaiger (2). The other top favorites around Matthias Mayer (9), Aleksander Aamodt Kilde (11), Beat Feuz (13), Dominik Paris (15) and Marco Odermatt (17) have all opted for slightly later numbers again.
Cancellation was unavoidable
Romed Baumann was one of the many supporters of yesterday’s cancellation. “Better no race than an unfair race,” said the DSV runner. At the same time, Norwegian top favorite Aleksander Aamodt Kilde also recalled the negative aspect of the long waiting times: “You lose a lot of energy when you prepare for such a long day and then a decision like that comes in the afternoon.” However, the perseverance was apparently worth it, because the wind on the Olympic mountain Xiaohaituo has become significantly weaker compared to the last two turbulent days.
Hello and welcome to the second attempt at the Olympic Downhill in Yanqing! The athletes have two tough days in their bones: After the training was stopped on Friday, the wind went crazy yesterday, which is why the competition was finally postponed to today after a few postponements. At 5 a.m. (CET) the start should finally take place.
Departure is postponed!
The long perseverance of all involved is over! Even at 7 a.m. (CET) the start of the descent is unthinkable due to the strong and changeable wind. The jury accordingly makes a final decision and cancels the race – a catch-up date will be discussed in the coming hour. The debate is that the men’s opening competition should be rescheduled between the two women’s giant slalom runs.
The wait goes on
What you could already guess as a hobby meteorologist has now been confirmed by the race organizers: The gusts of wind on the downhill still do not allow a regular competition, so the next decision about a possible start will be made at 6 a.m. (CET). If there is no improvement and a start at 7 a.m. in sight, the race will be postponed to tomorrow.
Apparently, the conditions on the Olympic slope have not improved significantly. Surprisingly, the wind is still blowing, which is why the jury around FIS race director Markus Waldner decided to delay the start again. The situation is now to be reassessed at 5 a.m. (CET), so that a possible start at 6 a.m. is possible.
Discussions after termination of training
Yesterday the third training session was stopped after three runners because of the wind. As a result, only Aleksander Aamodt Kilde, Matthias Mayer and Christof Innerhofer had a third test run, which sparked heated debates. “It’s just unfair and ridiculous,” rumbled Marco Odermatt, justifying his displeasure: “I was very close to our spokesman Johan Clarey. He suggested to the jury that we do a training run with a jacket and thick ski pants, so that the pace about 20 km/h less. But after two or three sentences there was no answer from the jury. It is very questionable how we athletes are treated here.”
What role does the wind play?
Most of the athletes found praise for the new course and the snow conditions in Yanqing. However, the wind will be a decisive factor, especially in the upper part of the course below the start at 2,179 meters. Romed Baumann already suspected on Friday that “it would take a bit of luck” to win the Olympics. “The best run is probably of no use to you. If you have such a headwind at the top, you can still ski as fast as you like – it won’t work out,” says the DSV runner.
Double chance for the Swiss team
All eyes of the Swiss are on Beat Feuz (car number 13) and Marco Odermatt (17). Feuz has celebrated countless successes in his long career, but the 34-year-old is still missing Olympic gold in his title collection. The up-and-coming Marco Odermatt, who confidently leads the overall World Cup, has repeatedly shown this winter that he is always a force to be reckoned with in the downhill too. Niels Hintermann (3) will take to the track with a low number, and Stefan Rogentin (30) will also complete the Swiss team.
ÖSV team attacks medals
The Austrian Ski Association has high hopes for a medal in the first alpine competition. Matthias Mayer in particular (car number 9) has already proven several times in the past that he has the Olympic flair. In 2014, the Carinthian celebrated the gold medal in the downhill in Sochi and four years later won the Super-G in Pyeongchang. Daniel Hemetsberger (5), Vincent Kriechmayr (7), who each belong to the group of favourites, and Max Franz (18) also want to have a say in the medal decision.
DSV team in wait
The German Ski Association has not yet booked a podium finish this winter. If it works for the first time at the high point of the season, nobody would complain. Romed Baumann (start number 8) made the best impression during the training runs, and he particularly likes the flat sections of the new slope. Dominik Schwaiger (14) and Josef Ferstl (21) are also outsiders. Vice world champion Andreas Sander (16) completes the DSV quartet, as the 32-year-old prevailed against Simon Jocher in the internal qualification.
First start shift
What had already become apparent in all training runs is no longer a big surprise: the wind is causing a lot of problems for those responsible today. That’s why the start of the descent has just been pushed back by an hour. The jury wants to discuss in about 40 minutes whether it can actually start at 5 a.m. (CET).
Who will be Svindal’s successor?
Four years ago in Pyeongchang, the Norwegian Aksel Lund Svindal, who has now retired, was able to crown himself in the supreme alpine discipline. A compatriot of all people now has the best chance of inheriting his legacy – namely the three-time winner of the season, Aleksander Aamodt Kilde. Most recently, the 29-year-old regularly displayed his excellent form and won both the downhill classic in Wengen and in Kitzbühel. In addition to the Scandinavian and Dominik Paris from Italy, the teams from Austria, Switzerland and Germany in particular have the right to intervene in the fight for the precious metal.
Hello and welcome to the Men’s Olympic Downhill! The first set of medals in the alpine area will be awarded on the new slope in the Yanqing ski area, with a total of 43 athletes fighting for gold, silver and bronze. The start should take place at 4 a.m. (CET).