Winter Olympics: Arbez debut put on hold by extreme weather

Winds of up to 100mph in Pyeongchang mean Giant Slalom event moved to Thursday

A steward works in the snow after the cancellation of the Women’s Giant Slalom race. Photograph: Guillame Horcajuelo/EPA

A steward works in the snow after the cancellation of the Women’s Giant Slalom race. Photograph: Guillame Horcajuelo/EPA

 

Tess Arbez is the latest Irish athlete to have their Winter Olympics debut put on hold after Monday’s Giant Slalom was postponed due to the weather.

Winds of up to 100mph and temperatures of -20 (c) mean the event will now take place on Thursday.

20-year-old Arbez will make her Pyeongchang bow on Wednesday (1.0am Irish time) in the Slalom event.

Arbez was on her way up the mountain on a gondola when she heard of the postponement, she said: “That is alpine skiing. Every time we have a lot of snow or it is raining or very windy they usually cancel it or move it so we are used to it.

“I will have some free-skiing on the race slope tomorrow and don’t mind because the race is now on Thursday and I am already competing in slalom on Wednesday. It is no problem.”

There are three members of Team Ireland set to compete on Tuesday, including two-time Olympic snowboarder Seamus O’Connor.

O’Connor 16-years-old when he finished 15th and 17th in Sochi, and he competes in the Half-Pipe qualifier, where he needs a top-12 finish to progress to the final, which he narrowly missed out on in 2014.

Clare skier Patrick McMillan, whose opening event (Downhill) was postponed on Sunday, will get to make his Olympic debut in the Alpine Combined on Tuesday. This event is based on each skier’s combined time over one downhill and one slalom run.

The third Irish athlete in action on Tuesday is cross-country skier Thomas Westgaard who has recovered from the 30km Skiathlon to take part in the 1.4km Sprint event.

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