Ski jumping - It's 2 AM: do you know where your athletes are?

Sat Feb 15, 2014 4:35am EST
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By David Ljunggren

ROSA KHUTOR, Russia (Reuters) - Go to bed at 2 a.m., up at 11. Have a late breakfast. Nap. Then a late lunch, wander around, grab an energy drink. Try to focus.

Many Olympic ski jumpers have had to alter their routines to ensure they stay sharp for jumping events that start at 9:30 pm local time (1730 GMT) and often do not wrap up until well after midnight.

The timing perfectly suits television audiences in nations which adore the sport such as Finland, Norway, Austria, Germany, Switzerland and Slovenia.

For athletes it is another story.

"It's a little more difficult in trying to stay ready for the competition throughout the day just because you have more time, you have to stay awake," said Nicholas Fairall of the United States.

The Sochi Games are not the first to hold the jumping event at night - Turin did the same in 2006. But the late start time is unprecedented for the Olympics.

World number four Gregor Schlierenzauer of Austria flashed his usual mischievous smile when asked how he stayed alert.

"I have a good sponsor," he said. The 24-year-old has a deal with energy drink manufacturer Red Bull.   Continued...

Dec 29, 2013; Park City, UT, USA; Nicholas Fairall of the United States is airborne during his ski jump during the U.S. Olympic Trials at the Utah Olympic Park. Mandatory Credit: Nathan Bilow-USA TODAY Sports - RTX16WXP