Nordic Combined: It's like the Summer Olympics, say sweaty athletes

Sat Feb 15, 2014 9:51am EST
 
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By David Ljunggren

ROSA KHUTOR, Russia (Reuters) - More used to biting chill and snowy climes, Nordic Combined athletes sweated uncomfortably at ski jump training on Saturday as temperatures at the Sochi Winter Olympics hit a relatively balmy 18 degrees Celsius (64 Fahrenheit).

"It is so hot here, I feel like it's the Summer Olympics," said Akito Watabe of Japan, who won silver in the normal hill event on Wednesday.

Athletes in Nordic Combined take a jump and then race each other over a 10km cross-country course. The men will compete in the large hill event on Monday.

Bill Demong, defending Olympic gold medalist on the large hill, said the athletes' aerodynamic suits were designed to work in much colder temperatures.

"We're enjoying the weather here on the beach other than the fact that our suits ... are quite hot. It's more or less like wearing a wet suit around," he told reporters.

"So you get to the bottom of the hill and peel down as quickly as possible right now."

Demong said the hot weather would also affect the artificial snow on the cross-country course and predicted organizers would have to add plenty of salt.

This means athletes would have to wax their skis carefully to avoid picking up salt and dirt, he added.   Continued...

 
France's Jason Lamy Chappuis speeds down the jump during a training session for the large hill ski jumping portion of the Nordic combined individual 10km competition at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games, at the RusSki Gorki Ski Jumping Center in Rosa Khutor, February 15, 2014. REUTERS/Michael Dalder