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Winter missing as Games approach

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Associated Press
February 9, 2010
— As Olympians arrive by the day, the Winter Games seem to be missing something. Namely, winter.

Vancouver Olympic officials have touted these as “The Green Games,” but Mother Nature might be taking that to an extreme. Some Vancouverites are now referring to them as “The Brown Games,” given the muddy conditions at Cypress Mountain.


“When I got off the airplane it was like, ‘What’s this green grass doing here? This is the Winter Olympics,”’ U.S. speedskater Trevor Marsicano said, recalling his reaction after flying in last week from Milwaukee.


Trouble is, with opening ceremonies only days away on Friday, the above-freezing temperatures in Vancouver continue to raise concerns for other sports, particularly snowboarding and freestyle skiing.


Organizers spent much of the past few weeks hauling in snow by helicopter and by truck for some venues.


It’s even relatively warm in Whistler, where numerous events—including Alpine skiing, bobsled and biathlon—will be held in the mountain-locked community two hours north of Vancouver. The forecast for this week has temperatures hovering at the freezing mark.


In Vancouver, along the city streets and gardens, crocuses are starting to sprout and apple blossoms are starting to bud on trees, making for an unusual sight for a Winter Games host city.


What also is unusual is the lack of snow on the North Shore Mountains, which have experienced one of the warmest months of January on record.


This is not the first time a Winter Olympics has faced a lack of snow.


In 1998, Nagano had major concerns about a lack of snow in the months before the games, only to see some events canceled and spectators stranded by heavy snow during the Olympics. In 1988 in Calgary, bobsled competition was postponed when ice on the track melted.



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