U.S. Paralympics

U.S. Paralympics

Downhill competition postponed due to weather

March 13, 2010, 8:07 p.m. (ET)

Saturday, March 13

Whistler, B.C., Canada

Today's men's and women's downhill races scheduled to be run at Whistler Creekside were delayed and finally cancelled today due to fog. Details on the date and time of the rescheduled event and instructions to ticket holders will be made available later today.

Additionally, all men's and women's Super-G races will be held on Sunday, March 14, beginning at 10:30 a.m. Originally all standing athletes were scheduled to run the Super-G on March 14, while the sitting athletes and visually impaired athletes were scheduled to run the Super-G on Monday, March 15.

Allison Jones (Colorado Springs, Colo.), standing

Was the wait and eventual postponement even worse because last night was Opening Ceremonies and the Paralympics have officially begun?

Not really. For me, it's my fifth Games and I've just gotten used to it. I'm calm, more calm about it. It's not one of my better events, so for me to stress out about something is just not worth it. I pretty much take the back seat on that, have fun and watch everybody else freak out.

What did you do during the delay?

Sat in the snow under an umbrella. I had music on most of the time, the jokes and conversations that go on with other team members. Things like that that usually keeps one's mind occupied.

Alana Nichols (Farmington, N.M.), sitting

On having to wait through the weather delays:

I was just talking with my coach and he said everything happens for a reason. I wasn't really excited about this course. There's lots of ice. I would have liked to have run it, but I'm happy to wait.

On having the race postponed:

I feel sorry for the course workers who were up at 2:30 (a.m.) trying to ready the course for us. I feel like their work was in vain.

On the weather:

This is only the second race I've ever experienced to be canceled, but you never know. It's ski racing. Whistler's known for its temperate climate and you've just got to adapt, overcome and get back out there when it's time.

George Sansonetis (Fraser, Colo.), standing

After finally getting in your first training run this morning, was it frustrating not being able to race today?

Yeah, absolutely. It's unfortunate. I had that crash today (in the training run), but it's not going to set me back. What's more aggravating is sitting around waiting for a race that we've been wanting to do for the last five days. It felt great to get that first run off. Unfortunately I didn't finish, but I'm gunned. I'm here. This is the big show and I'm just going to go for it, nothing's holding me back.

Was the wait and eventual postponement even worse because last night was Opening Ceremonies and the Paralympics have officially begun?

Absolultely. Waiting up there for training runs and having some fun at the same time is always great. But once the training runs are over, it gets more serious because now it's race time. There's no more joking around in the start. We're all here for business. Hopefully we can get this thing off and get some medals.

What did you do during the delay?

I hung out, got some treatment from doctors and watched the TV, hoping that things were going to clear and we would be able to race today.

Caitlin Sarubbi (Brooklyn, N.Y.), visually impaired

I know you're used to weather delays in this sport, but did it feel different today since it was the first race of the Paralympics?

Mentally I was really ready to go today and I felt good about what I had to do. I felt good about where I was. It was hard, but that's ski racing. That's our sport. We all just sat around, kept each other company, kept it light and stuff. It really wasn't too bad. But it's a weather-based sport and things like that happen.

You carried the torch in the relay on Thursday. What kind of an experience was that for you?

That was awesome. Basically that was one of those experiences where if I don't win a medal here at all, that's something amazing that I'm going to take away. It was an incredible experience. It's such an honor. To be able to do that and be able to represent the U.S. in doing that was amazing.

Joe Tompkins (Juneau, Alaska), sitting

On having to wait through the weather delays:  

I was sitting at the top with my tunes just zoning out. I made a note to myself this morning, it says: crush it, sing a song (or relax), [be patient with] starts and stops, [be patient with the] weather. You have to be ready and not let it affect you.

Brad Washburn (Winter Park, Colo.), standing

I'm sure you're used to weather delays like this:

Yeah, we are. But here it's a lot more common. We've only gotten one training day so far and we've had four days to do it. I just want to go. I just want to go already, and it never seems to happen. We had fun the other day. We had a giant snowball fight two days ago. That was fun. That lightened the mood a lot. Today it was kind of like, ugh. I took an hour nap and sat around.

Is it even worse because last night was Opening Ceremonies and the Paralympics have officially begun?

Yeah, then we had to get up super early. We had inspection at 7:30 (a.m.). Just hurry up and wait. That's the name of the game.

Gwynn Watkins (Mt. Shasta, Calif.), guide for Caitlin Sarubbi

What was it like on top of the mountain today?

There's a tent there. We had some umbrellas, so we were all gathered around the umbrellas. We were keeping it light and relaxed. We would move around, then we'd sit down again, then we'd move around again, because they kept delaying every 15 minutes. It was get ready and then relax. It was warm, the umbrellas were nice. It was just another day in the world of ski racing.

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