Training canceled for Nordic combined team event

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 19, 2014 at 5:45 am •  Published: February 19, 2014

KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia (AP) — Ski jump training for the Olympic Nordic combined large hill team event was canceled Wednesday because of the condition of the landing area following steady rain and safety concerns for the athletes.

Rain fell throughout Tuesday's individual final won by Norway's Joergen Graabak. It softened the landing area on the ski jump during the event and made a mess of the 2.5-kilometer cross-country course.

"The hill took a real beating yesterday, and we couldn't do much last night with the continuing rain," race director Lasse Ottesen said. "The hill was basically a huge ice block this morning when the temperatures dropped, and for the safety of the competitors, we decided to cancel the training."

Few competitors had arrived before the scheduled 11 a.m. start for training Wednesday under sunny, blue skies and with a fresh dusting of snow on the nearby mountains.

The team gold is scheduled for Thursday, the last Olympic event at the RusSki Gorki Jumping Center.

Cross-country training is always optional, and less structured. It was still available to competitors Wednesday, but American Bryan Fletcher was one of only a dozen or so athletes who took part.

Austria is the defending gold medalist from the Vancouver Olympics, when the United States took silver and Germany the bronze.