Feb. 11 (UPI) — The organizers of the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics rescheduled the women’s giant slalom event on Monday due to unfavorable weather conditions.
The women’s giant slalom was scheduled to start at Yongpyong Alpine Centre in Pyeongchang, 180 kilometers east of Seoul, at 10:15 a.m. Monday, but the organizers decided to postpone the event due to high winds and bad weather. It said the event will start at 9:30 a.m. Thursday, with the second run slated for 1:15 p.m. on the same day.
In the latest weather forecast, the wind chill was expected to bring temperatures down as low as negative 20 Celsius at Yongpyong Alpine Centre, with wind speeds reaching four meters per second as of 9 a.m.
The women’s giant slalom was to feature 81 skiers, headlined by competition favorite Mikaela Shiffrin of the United States. North Korea’s Kim Ryon-hyang was also set to make her debut.
This is the second time that the organizing committee has rescheduled the alpine skiing competition due to bad weather. The International Ski Federation (FIS) jury and local organizers previously rescheduled the men’s downhill event that was originally set to take place at Jeongseon Alpine Centre in Jeongseon, Gangwon Province, on Sunday. The men’s downhill event was moved to 11 a.m. Thursday, while the men’s super giant slalom was pushed back to 11 a.m. Friday.
Sung Baik-you, spokesperson of the Pyeongchang organizing committee, said the safety of athletes was the biggest factor in the rescheduling. Baik explained that wind predictions can be made only up to three days but assured that the event should go forward smoothly given sufficient reserve days allotted by the committee and IOC.
According to Sung, tickets for the canceled event will be accepted at the day of the rescheduled competition. The committee will also offer refunds to those who are unable to attend the rescheduled competition.