(ATR) Due to the outbreak and continuing spread of the Novel Coronavirus, the International Ski Federation, the Chinese Ski Associations and its Yanqing Organizing Committee have jointly decided to cancel upcoming men’s FIS World Cup races scheduled for Feb. 15-16.
National Alpine Ski Center in Yanqing (Beijing 2022)
The men’s downhill and super-G races were planned as the inaugural Beijing 2022 test event, in addition to being the first Alpine World Cup ever to be staged in China. Three downhill training runs were also scheduled on the future Olympic downhill course.
Around the Rings
has learned that numerous leaders from the various National Ski Associations expressed their unwillingness to send their skiers to China, forcing the FIS decision.
“Although the risk level in Yanqing is low, the health and welfare of the athletes and all participants must take priority,” said FIS president Gian Franco Kasper. “It is also imperative that athletes can focus on their performance and particularly on the completely new and very challenging course.”
The Novel Coronavirus epidemic has now killed 132 people and infected nearly 6,000.
More than 100 ski racers from nearly 20 countries were expected to race. Yanqing is located 70 kilometers (45 miles) northwest of Beijing.
According to FIS and despite the World Cup cancellation, the first competitions on the new Olympic downhill course in Yanqing were carried out as part of the 14th Chinese National Winter Games from January 16-20.
FIS technical experts and a medical supervisor were satisfied with the new course and snow conditions, as well as the organization of the event and mountain operations.
A new venue for the cancelled races has yet to be determined by FIS, though Saalbach, Austria appears to be a likely candidate.
Women’s World Cup downhill and super-G races are scheduled to serve as the Beijing 2022 Alpine skiing test event in March 2021. FIS states that efforts will also be taken to reschedule the men’s test event, although adequate space in a packed World Cup calendar always seems to be an issue.
Downhill Training Cancelled at Rosa Khutor
The opening downhill training run at Rosa Khutor was cancelled due to poor visibility. (Olga Laeva/Sochi World Cup)
The women’s Alpine World Cup is hoping for better luck than last season on the Olympic slopes of Rosa Khutor, where downhill and super-G races are scheduled this weekend.
The opening training run on Wednesday was cancelled due to substantial snowfall and poor visibility along the course which hosted Sochi 2014 races.
According to Rosa Khutor head race judge Alexei Orlov, preparations have been difficult since the race crew’s arrival ten days ago as there was no snow. Now, ample snow has fallen, however it is very wet and Orlov informs that the crew is doing everything possible to prepare the track.
In 2019, two World Cup races at Rosa Khutor were also wiped out due to uncooperative weather.
Top racers, including overall World Cup leader Mikaela Shiffrin, Petra Vlhova, and Marta Bassino have opted to skip the Sochi races. Shiffrin, who also didn’t make the trip to Russia last season, cited the need to for a break from her busy race schedule.
Written and reported by Brian Pinelli
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