United States

Fierce Winds Force Closure of Olympic Park, Event Delays

The women's slalom and women's biathlon events have both been rescheduled

Strong winds have forced the closure of the Olympic Park in Gangneung.

The local Olympic organizing committee announced the closure at about 5 p.m., though they were taking place well before that. Officials began evacuating the Olympic Park at about 3 p.m., with public-address announcements in Korean and English urging spectators to go indoors because of the wind.

As workers disassembled tents that were taking the brunt of the wind, volunteers with bullhorns walked around telling fans to go inside for their safety. Many spectators sought shelter in buildings near the Gangneung Hockey Centre. As of mid-afternoon, general admission to the park was no longer allowed.

Events, including the women's slalom, were forced to reschedule. Team USA's Mikaela Shiffrin must wait to ski in her signature event. She was initially set to make her Pyeongchang debut in the giant slalom race earlier in the week, but it was postponed then due to dangerous winds.

The race has been moved to Friday, after the giant slalom race rescheduled for Thursday morning (Wednesday night in the U.S.).

The women's biathlon 15km individual event also had to be postponed. 

High-speed wind gusts make it difficult for competitors to shoot their rifles.

The event has been moved to Thursday, starting ahead of the men's individual biathlon.

Winds are blowing steadily around 23 mph (37 kph) with stiffer gusts rattling and shaking the giant tent anchored with metal beams in Gangneung.

A media work tent was closed because of the gusting winds ahead of a women’s hockey game between Japan and Korea.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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