Researchers in Canada and Austria made headlines last week with their report that, thanks to climate change, close to half of previous host cities could be too warm to reliably hold the Winter Olympics in just 50 years’ time. Which makes it all the more beguiling that the IOC didn’t choose a colder city for the games while such places still exist.
A big part of the reason why preparation for the 2014 Winter Olympics has exacted such a devastating toll on Sochi, its host city, is that Russia was attempting to make a ski resort out of a beach town. As Simon Lewis, who runs a U.K.-based consultancy on sustainability in sport, told Time: “Sochi should never have happened in that location. It was a poor decision by IOC members based on poor information.”
And as further confirmation that holding the Winter Olympics in a sub-tropical climate perhaps wasn’t the most well thought-out of ideas, temperatures Monday reached a balmy 61 degrees Fahrenheit, and are expected to get warmer as the week goes on.
The AP reports that skiiers are landing in puddles and putting (the remaining) snow in their ski suits in order to cool down, while several jumping events were cancelled on account of the softened snow. Some athletes says that the slush is affecting their performance: ”It was pretty warm snow and I don’t think I adapted to it well,” U.S. skier Stacey Cook said, suggesting that’s why she missed a gate in her slalom event. “It slides under your ski more.”
For now, Sochi’s snowmaking machines have been out in force, and officials say they’re storing enough snow to ensure that the games go on.