February 14, 2018 / 9:27 AM / 11 days ago

Events rescheduled as high winds sweep through Pyeongchang

GANGNEUNG, South Korea (Reuters) - 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.

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.

Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics – Gangneung Olympic Park - Gangneung, South Korea – February 14, 2018. Children watch as workers assess the damage caused by the wind. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj

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.

Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics – Gangneung Olympic Park - Gangneung, South Korea – February 14, 2018. Staff from Olympic Park struggle to walk during the wind. REUTERS/John Sibley

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.

Reporting by Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber in Gangneung and Jane Chung in Seoul, additional reporting by Philip O'Connor in Pyeongchang,; Editing by Ed Osmond

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