February 14, 2018 / 4:47 AM / 7 days ago

Pyeongchang wind blows fans off course

PYEONGCHANG, South Korea (Reuters) - The high winds that have forced the postponement of three of four Alpine skiing races at the Pyeongchang Games are blowing the skiing fans’ plans off course as they are spending more time cheering for the weather to improve than for their favorite teams.

Decked in a green wig, matching tutu and with a Lithuanian flag draped around his neck, Joseph Virskus, 38, was worried that he and his girlfriend may be forced to make the trip back to Tokyo without even getting the chance to cheer on Lithuanian ski racer Ieva Januskeviciute, who he has watched ski since she was a kid.

“We’re here for five days specifically to support our friend Ieva who is racing,” he told Reuters while the fans in the stands around him flooded the exits after it was announced that Wednesday’s women’s slalom event would be pushed to Friday.

“But her giant slalom was delayed and now this is delayed. If we’re lucky we’ll get to see one run of GS tomorrow before we have to go to the train.”

Virskus’ British girlfriend Rachel Little shared his disappointment with all the scheduling changes and said the frigid temperatures in Pyeongchang over the past week have been punishing.

“We’ve been to a lot of cold places in our time but I think this one really takes the biscuit,” she said.

“The wind and the humidity. I can’t feel my face most of the time. Today is comparatively warm, almost tropical compared to yesterday.”

The two had gone skiing the day before and experienced the cold weather first hand while riding to the top of the slopes.

“Sitting on the chairlift was kind of like torture,” she said. “It’s a shame but hopefully we get to see the one tomorrow and it will all be good.”

A man from Seoul who gave his name as Baek Nakki said he would be asking for his money back because he could not come back on Friday, which is Korean New Year, when people pay tribute to their ancestors.

Reporting by Rory Carroll; editing by Sudipto Ganguly

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