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Thick fog triggers more delays, cancellations in Sochi

Spectators with a Russian flag stand in thick fog on the stands prior to the men's biathlon 15k mass start, at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Monday, Feb. 17, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia.

Gero Breloer/AP

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Officials at the Sochi Olympics have insisted for days that the weather has not been an issue at the Games. On Monday, the weather finally took its toll.

Thick fog rolled in across Rosa Khutor Extreme Park Monday morning, causing havoc with a couple of events. The men's snowboard cross was delayed for four hours before officials finally cancelled it, deeming the course too unsafe. The race has been rescheduled for Tuesday morning.

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The 39 competitors will automatically move to the elimination round, with the seedings based on the world rankings. There will be seven heats of five riders each and one heat of four. The top three in each will advance to the quarter-final rounds.

"They made a good decision," said Robert Joncas, the high performance director for Canada Snowboard. He added that unlike other skiing events, which can take place in some fog, snowboard cross demands good visibility because five or six athletes race down the course together and go over several jumps. "The most important part [for visibility] is the jumps," he said.

Canada has four competitors in the event with Chris Robanske considered a medal hope. Joncas said the athletes will use the extra time to rest and prepare for Tuesday.

The fog "is super dense up there," said American snowboarder Nate Holland. "You think what you are going to do off these features and you can't see anything. You'd have to ride by braille….I thought it might become a Paralympic sport, blind snowboarder cross, today."

Holland said all of the riders will be ready for Tuesday and that Monday ended up being a good dress rehearsal. "We'll be back tomorrow and let it roll from there. Time to drop the hammer and sickle on this course."

The men's 15-kilometre biathlon mass start was also postponed because of the fog. It is now scheduled to take place Monday afternoon. The men's aerials competition is still scheduled for Monday evening. Canada's Travis Gerrits is considered a medal contender.

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About the Author
European Correspondent

Paul Waldie has been an award-winning journalist with The Globe and Mail for more than 10 years. He has won three National Newspaper Awards for business coverage and been nominated for a Michener Award for meritorious public service journalism. He has also won a Sports Media Canada award for sports writing and authored a best-selling biography of the McCain family. More


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