Winter Olympic Weather Problems

With the fog postponing the men’s 15 km biathlon (twice now) and the men’s snowboarding boarder-cross, you may wonder how this has happened previously at the Winter Olympics. Hopefully, by now, it will not surprise that we have that answer.

The Olympic Winter Games are far more subject to event postponements, and occasionally even cancellations, due to weather conditions, because of the nature of the sports and events. Numerous Winter Olympic events have been affected. In fact in 1932 the bobsledding was completed after the Closing Ceremony because of weather delays. The first table below contains general weather problems that affected the Winter Olympics, or the preparations for then, while the second table below contains specific postponements, cancellations, or events significantly affected by weather.

 

Year Site Problems
1924 Chamonix Rain one week before Olympics turned the ice skating oval into a lake but cold weather just before the Games restored proper ice conditions.
1928 St. Moritz The föhn (a tradewind coming down the leeward side of a mountain) brought sudden patches of very warm weather  one of which forced cancellation of the 10K speed skating.
1932 Lake Placid Warm weather before the Games forced the OCOG to haul in snow for the Nordic events but a severe storm on the day of the Opening Ceremony restored snow conditions.
1956 Cortina No snow fell in Cortina for 24 days before the Games but as military personnel were hauling in snow from the mountains the town was hit with a 36 cm (14 in) snowfall just before the Games opened.
1964 Innsbruck So little snow had fallen in Innsbruck that the Austrian Army brought in ice bricks for the sliding courses and had 60K cubic metres of snow applied to the courses. No snow fell during the Games and rain further hampered conditions.
1968 Grenoble Warm weather softened the sliding courses so that bobsled and luge runs had to be postponed and the fourth runs of the men's and women's luge were eventually cancelled.
1980 Lake Placid Little snow had fallen in the area forcing the OCOG to move the men's cross-country events to the women's 5 and 10 km courses. Snow flurries fell in the 3 days preceding the Games.
1984 Sarajevo Severe snow and high winds forced the postponement of many of the Alpine skiing events.
1988 Calgary High winds caused postponements of Alpine skiing/ bobsled/luge events. The bobsled track also softened during the final week.
1998 Nagano Many Alpine skiing and snowboarding events were postponed by combinations of snow/fog/hail conditions. A 5.0 earthquake hit Nagano on 21 February during the first run of the men's slalom but no damage occurred and the event was not postponed.
2002 Salt Lake Heavy winds caused postponement of women's downhill and the adjustment of the order of the women's combined.
2006 Torino Heavy snow/fog/winds caused postponement of many of the events.
2010 Vancouver Snow had to be hauled in for the freestyle and snowboarding courses which were near the coast. Warm weather and fog caused postponement of bobsledding/Nordic combined/ski jumping and snowboarding. Heavy snow and fog caused postponements of several Alpine events at Whistler.

 

Year Spt X Evt Notes
1984 ASK M DH Postponed three times and seven days because of heavy snows.
1984 ASK F DH Postponed twice and five days because of snow and fog.
1988 ASK M DH Postponed one day because of heavy winds.
1988 ASK F DH Postponed one day because of heavy winds.
1988 ASK F KB Postponed one day because of weather.
1992 ASK F SG Postponed one day because of rain and soft snow.
1998 ASK M DH Postponed by weather three times from its originally scheduled date of 8 February.
1998 ASK M GS Postponed one day because of heavy snow.
1998 ASK M SL Earthquake occurred in Nagano (level 5.0) during Run 1 but had no real effect on the competition.
1998 ASK F DH Postponed two days by weather twice from its originally scheduled date of 14 February.
1998 ASK F SG Heavy snow postponed this event one day from its scheduled date of 10 February.
1998 ASK F KB Postponed one day because of poor weather.
2002 ASK F DH Postponed one day from 11 February because of heavy winds.
2002 ASK F KB The downhill was postponed because of heavy winds so the slalom runs were conducted first.
2006 ASK M SG The event was stopped after 15 skiers because of snow. The results were cancelled and the event re-run two days later.
2006 ASK F SG Postponed one day from 19 February because of snow.
2006 ASK F KB Postponed one day from 17 February because of snow . The event order was changed and the slalom runs were conducted first.
2010 ASK M DH Postponed two days twice from 13 February.
2010 ASK M GS Delayed two days from 21 February because of scheduling problems with other events delayed.
2010 ASK M SK Postponed five days from 16 February due to heavy snow.
2010 ASK F GS Start postponed two days from 22 February because of scheduling problems with other events delayed. Second run cancelled on 24 February and re-scheduled to 25 February because of snow and fog.
2010 ASK F SK Postponed four days from 14 February.
1968 BIA M Relay Originally scheduled for the morning – postponed until the afternoon because of fog.
1972 BIA M 20K Originally scheduled for 8 February – the event was cancelled after 35 skiers had started because of a snow storm – and moved to the next day.
1998 BIA M 10K The event was started on 17 February but postponed to the next day because snow and fog made the shooting targets almost impossible to see.
1928 BOB M 4/5 Originally planned for 16 and 17 February but postponed to 18 February due to poor weather conditions. Eventually only two runs were contested.
1932 BOB M 4 The 4-man event was originally scheduled for 11-12 February but was postponed two days by a snowstorm which necessitated this event being completed after the Closing Ceremony.
1936 BOB M 2 Originally scheduled for 11-12 February but start postponed after the four-man had to be postponed three days because of weather conditions.
1936 BOB M 4 Originally scheduled for 8-9 February but start postponed three days because rain and snowfall had prevented training on the track.
1948 BOB M 4 On 6 February Run 2 was started but a pipe broke – flooding the course – and the run was stopped – and re-started the next day.
1964 BOB M 2 Run 3 started before dawn to avoid snow melting.
1968 BOB M 2 Originally scheduled for 7 and 8 February  but postponed to 8 and 11 February due to poor weather conditions.
1968 BOB M 4 Originally scheduled for 14 and 15 February but postponed to 16 February because of poor weather conditions. The final two runs were eventually cancelled.
1988 BOB M 2 Second run started on 20 February at 0910 but cancelled because of high winds and re-run the next day.
1998 BOB M 4 Second run cancelled because of poor weather conditions.
2002 BOB M 2 Start delayed by five minutes due to preparations.
2010 BOB M 2 Start delayed to later in the day because of warm weather.
1948 CCS M 50K Originally set to start at 0800 but rescheduled due to cold.
2006 FRS F Aerial Final round start delayed 40 minutes because of fog. Qualifying round postponed 2 days from 19 February because of snow.
1948 FSK M Singles Originally scheduled for 4 February but postponed to the next day due to melting ice conditions.
1948 FSK F Singles Originally scheduled to end on 4 February but postponed for melting ice conditions.
1948 FSK F Singles Originally scheduled for 5 February but schedule moved back a day due to ice conditions on 4 February.
1948 FSK X Pairs Originally scheduled for 6 February but schedule moved back a day due to ice conditions on 4 February.
1948 ICH M Games Originally scheduled for 3 February at Eisstadion but postponed one day due to warm weather and melting ice.
1948 ICH M Games Originally scheduled for 4 February at Palace Hotel but postponed one day due to weather.
1968 LUG M Singles Fourth run cancelled because of weather conditions.
1968 LUG F Singles Fourth run cancelled because of weather conditions.
1988 LUG F Singles Second day runs postponed one day because of high winds.
2002 NCO M Team Postponed two days from 14 February because of high winds.
2006 NCO M Team Postponed one day from 14 February and held over two days because of high winds.
2010 NCO M LH Event delayed one hour because of fog on the jumping hill.
1988 SKJ M Team Postponed six days from 18 February because of snow.
2002 SKJ M NH Postponed two days from 8 February due to heavy wind and snow.
1998 SNB F GS Postponed one day because of heavy snow.
2010 SNB F BX Start delayed 3:05 because of overnite rains/fog on the course/poor visibility.
1928 SSK M 10K Competition was stopped by the referee during the fifth pair and officially annulled due to ice conditions.

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