Good news out of Sochi: If there’s a shortage of snow next winter, Olympic organizers have a battle-tested method that will ensure the Games will go on.
Much has been reported about the Sochi area’s climate, which is warm at the Black Sea coast (49 degrees is the average high in February). Although it’s cooler in the mountains, about 30 miles away, where the skiing and sliding events will take place, the threat of not having enough snow for the competitions is real.
But there appears to be a solution: Underground storage facilities that can house 250,000 cubic meters of snow.
On Dec. 8-9, this backup plan was implemented at a women’s ski jumping event at the Olympic venue.
It seems to have worked.
Organizers removed 4,600 cubic meters of last winter’s snow from the subterranean chamber and dropped it at the ski jumping venue. Then the snow was smoothed over the under-padding at the hill and the result was a perfect surface that was fit for competition. In other words, it was a success.
“Snow in February is guaranteed, but in case of warm weather, we have prepared a backup plan,’’ head of the Olympic Organizing Committee Dmitry Chernyshenko told the Toronto Star. “We are storing snow from the previous season to use at all the venues. During the World Cup in ski jumping, we successfully tested the system.’’
In addition to keeping the year-old snow (does it have an expiration date?), there will be more than 400 pieces of snowmaking equipment on hand.
Will Sochi defy the naysayers and actually become one of the snowiest winter Olympics in history? That might be taking it too far, but it seems that any weather worries may be unnecessary.
The Washington Nationals won the National League East title last night for the third time in five years.
Reigning NL MVP Bryce Harper donned a Katie Ledecky swim cap during the beer-soaked celebration to protect his hair, which he reportedly spends 30 minutes grooming before games.
Ledecky, a native of Bethesda, Maryland, is a longtime fan of the Nationals. Earlier this year, she had Harper hold her five Olympic medals from Rio while she threw the first pitch at a Nationals game.
Ledecky, who is currently taking classes at Stanford, Tweeted her approval of Harper’s headgear:
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BERLIN (AP) — Kenenisa Bekele of Ethiopia pulled away from Wilson Kipsang of Kenya late in the race to win the Berlin Marathon just outside the world record time on Sunday.
Bekele’s winning time of two hours, 3 minutes and 3 seconds was six seconds outside Dennis Kimetto‘s world record, also set in Berlin in 2014 and is the second best time.
“I wanted to set a personal best and it’s a fantastic time, but it’s a little disappointing to miss the world record by so little,” Bekele said after the race.
Bekele and Kipsang opened a considerable lead over the rest of the field and ran shoulder-to-shoulder until Bekele pulled away with about two kilometers to go.
Kipsang finished 10 seconds behind Bekele in 2:03:13, faster than the 2:03:23 he clocked in winning the race in 2013, in what was then a world record.
Evans Chebet of Kenya was third in 2:05:31.
Bekele is considered one of the greatest distance runners of all time. He won three Olympic titles and five world championship golds and is the world record holder over 5,000 and 10,000 meters.
But he had been slow getting into the marathon, with his previous best of 2:05.04 set in his debut in winning the Paris race in 2014. He was third in London in April, after battling an Achilles’ tendon injury.
Bekele broke the Ethiopian record for the marathon, previously held by the great Haile Gebrselassie, who won the Berlin Marathon and set a world record of 2:03.59 in 2008.
Aberu Kebede led an Ethiopian sweep in the women’s race in 2:20:45. Birhane Dibaba was second in 2:23:58 and Ruti Aga third in 2:24:41.
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