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Wednesday, February 14, 2018, 17:58
Events rescheduled as high winds sweep through Pyeongchang
By Agencies
Wednesday, February 14, 2018, 17:58 By Agencies

Course crew strive to prepare the women's slalom course at Yongpyong alpine center at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Feb 14, 2018. (LUCA BRUNO / AP)

GANGNEUNG - Several Olympic events were postponed or rescheduled as strong winds swept through the Pyeongchang region on Wednesday, damaging temporary structures set up for the Games.

Nordic combined, biathlon and Alpine skiing events were postponed or delayed due to weather conditions, Olympic organizers said as they rejigged the competition schedule and worked to limit damage sustained around venues.

The Korea Meteorological Administration said on its website that winds in the region were blowing at 7 m/s as of 17:30 (local time)

At the Gangneung Ice Arena, the venue for figure skating and short track speed skating, a tent set up for security screenings lay flat on the pavement.

Olympic volunteers and reporters trudged with their backs to the wind, shielding their faces from the dust.

The Korea Meteorological Administration said on its website that winds in the region were blowing at 7 m/s as of 17:30 (0830 GMT).

In text messages sent to mobile phones in the coastal area, Gangneung City Hall called for people to be wary of flying objects and falling debris.

The streets of the Gangneung Media Village, where the majority of international journalists covering the Games are staying, were deserted except for a few security officials trying to fix damage to temporary structures. Several tents used as work areas for the press were closed.

Athletes have also felt the effects of the treacherous winds.

Canadian pairs figure skater Meagan Duhamel wrote on Twitter that the hanger she used for her competition dress "broke from the wind" ahead of the short program on Wednesday in which she and partner Eric Radford finished third.

Strong winds have also forced the closure of the Olympic Park in Gangneung.

The local Olympic organizing committee announced the closure at about 5 pm, though they were taking place well before that. Officials began evacuating the Olympic Park at about 3 pm, with public-address announcements in Korean and English urging spectators to go indoors because of the wind.

As workers disassembled tents that were taking the brunt of the wind, volunteers with bullhorns walked around telling fans to go inside for their safety. Many spectators sought shelter in buildings near the Gangneung Hockey Centre. As of mid-afternoon, general admission to the park was no longer allowed.

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