January 8, 2020 / 9:32 AM / 21 days ago

St Moritz lake iced up but balmy weather shortens Alpine run

Lausanne 2020 Winter Youth Olympics Games torchbearer Nathanael Pianta poses in front of the rings at the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in Lausanne, Switzerland, January 8, 2020. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

LAUSANNE, Switzerland (Reuters) - St Moritz prides itself as the birthplace of modern winter sports but the Swiss city has been hit by warm weather and had to wait until days before the Lausanne 2020 winter Youth Olympics to confirm its lake is iced up and ready for speed skating events.

St Moritz hosted two editions of the winter Games — in 1928 and 1948 - and its lake is to again be a major sports attraction of the Lausanne Youth Games starting on Thursday.

But unusually warm weather this winter combined with a lack of snow and heavy rain have affected preparations for the Youth Games.

“The lake is ready to host the youth Olympics speedskating competition,” organisers said late on Tuesday as athletes breathed a sigh of relief.

The same, however, cannot be said for the Alpine skiing events, with the course at Les Diablerets being shortened by several hundred metres.

“Following the rainfall (in) the last 24 hours in the area, the last section of the Jorasse ski run ... although still practicable for leisure skiing, is no longer suitable for competition,” organisers said.

“After carrying out various field tests, the parties involved decided by mutual agreement to move the finish line up a few hundred meters. This concerns the Super-G, Combined, Giant Slalom and Slalom races.”

The Lausanne youth Games run to Jan 22.

Editing by Robert Birsel

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