Park City, Utah The athletes and spectators at Utah Olympic Park's K-90 jump were ready to get started at 8:30 a.m. Thursday but the weather was not.
Gusty and inconsistent winds began shortly before the Nordic Combined team event was scheduled to start and continued to swirl around the bowl-like base of the jumps for nearly 5 hours before the jury finally gave in and decided to postpone the event.
"They had no choice," American head coach Tom Steitz said. "If they wanted it to be fair they had to cancel today."
The winds, which also played havoc with the women's combined at Snowbasin more than 60 miles away, blew steadily for most of the day. However, the first section of team jumpers including Todd Lodwick did get the opportunity to jump once before the jury reconvened and decided to stop the meet.
"This team is ready to jump whenever the time comes, just like we were ready to jump today," Lodwick said.
Steitz said the problem with Thursday's winds was that they were just too inconsistent for the jumpers to handle, and in order to be fair to all the teams on hand the jump needed to be postponed.
The jumping portion of the team Nordic combined event has been re-scheduled for 8 a.m. Saturday. The cross country, which was originally planned for today, was pushed back to Sunday at 1 p.m.
Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club coach Gary Crawford, who was on hand to watch the event, thinks postponing the meet was better for the Americans.
He said that the wind delays could have been a factor if the competition had gone on as planned.
"When you go into the Olympics you try to tell yourself it's just another event, but it's not," Crawford said. "There is so much hype behind the Olympics, so much prestige, that when you get up there you are just trying to stay focused and not let your nerves get to you. On a day like this when the wind conditions are constantly changing it makes it that much more difficult."
Crawford competed at the Olympic games in 1980 in Lake Placid and again in 1998 in Calgary.
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