Yup, exactly as I predicted. It’s not that I’m The Amazing Kreskin, it’s just that I’ve sat through my share of endless weather delays and cancellations at Pissler downhills, and I could see this one coming from a mile away. Actually, from 2500 miles away.
I was watching the FIS live ticker. Compressing 90 minutes into 30 seconds, this is basically what happened:
First forerunners were delayed due to fog.
Sent a few forerunners.
Another delay (“Start Stop” in FIS parlance) due to fog.
Sent one racer, Recchia, bib #1. Her time was 1:52, so she was cruising easy, focusing on just not crashing.
Another Start Stop, for about 20 minutes.
Sent a forerunner.
Sent bib 2.
Bib 2 (Stacey Cook) crashed. Probably because she couldn’t see shit.
Another Start Stop.
Game over. Training canceled 90 minutes after it started. Two racers out of the gate.
If the weather forecast is anywhere close to reality, they’re fucked for the weekend.
Whistler has one thing going for it. That one thing is a guy named Greg Johnson, the FIS TD, who is one of the best TDs in the business. Greg, who is head of the Race Department at Beaver Creek, will be advising Günther Hujara, the FIS referee, and Greg really knows his stuff. Another thing Greg’s got going for him is he’s one of the few people in the world who actually likes and respects Hujara. Pretty much everyone else I know in ski racing thinks Günther is a hopeless douchebag.
Another random thought – I hope Stacy Cook isn’t hurt. Racing at 100 KmH when you can’t see the next gate is a sure ticket to getting pulled out of the nets, possibly one body part at a time.
Update: I saw the video. Cook hit the nets hard. She was conscious, but she took a big hit. The visibility wasn’t nearly as bad as what I’d anticipated from my experience racing at Whistler, which surprised me. The start and the first few gates were marginal when Cook started, but it was perfectly clear in the section where she augered in.
The head of I.T. at FIS, Francesco Cattaneo, screwed up on the FIS web site today. His link on the FIS live-to-web page to the mens training was broken, so both the womens live link and the mens live link brought up the women. As a result, I do not know what happened with the men. But I think I can safely assume that the men did more or less the same thing (canceled), since they race on the same course at the same time.
Update: I was wrong. I just read that somehow, the men completed their training run. But I do not think it was a start-to-finish complete run, as the winner’s time was only 1:34, so they still have problems. The men supposedly were going to run from the DH start to the slalom start. If so, they still need to either run another full training or a mini-training on the slalom-start-to-finish section of the course prior to Saturday’s race. Or waive the requirement, which has never been done to my knowledge. It’s possible. Years ago , at Lake Louise, the one training was run I1-to-finish. Then, early on race day, we ran a start-to-I1 training run (approximately 10 seconds) and the afternoon race was legal. Stay tuned. Who knows, perhaps the weather will cooperate tomorrow.
Nah. It’s Pissler.
It’s ironic, because at World Cup, when our DATA partners make even a minor mistake, Francesco is the first one to bitch and whine like a spoiled little girl whose miniature pony has been swiped. But there’s no recourse when Francesco, who must have ordered one too many bottles of champagne at his local titty bar last night, screws the pooch.
Anybody who knows jacques schitt about ski racing could have told you the odds were overwhelming this was going to happen. So NBC is almost surely fucked for the opening weekend, as their marquee event, alpine downhill, is almost surely delayed into mid-week.
But there are a few positives:
1) With Greg running things, they’ll get the DHs run at some point. There’s a reason DH is scheduled for the opening days….it gives them two weeks worth of makeup days.
2) The cancellations will give Lindsey Vonn an extra 4 days for her injury to heal.