The Extreme Cold in Beijing Is Taking a Serious Toll On Olympic Skiers

Some skiers have complained that the cold weather is making them feel ill.

Tom Weller/VOIGT/DeFodi Images/Getty Image

The weather at some of this year's Winter Olympic events in Beijing has been colder than many athletes anticipated. According to Insider, Sweden's cross-country ski team is now trying to take steps to protect athletes from freezing cold temperatures at the National Cross-Country Center in the mountains of Zhangjiakou after a weekend of ultra chilly conditions.

During Swedish athlete Frida Karlsson's ride in Saturday’s Skiathlon, her coach reported that the wind chill caused the temperature to feel close to -30 degrees Fahrenheit. By the time she finished her race, she could be seen shaking. She later said that she had felt close to collapsing.

Swedish Team Anders Bystroem told Reuters that the team planned on contacting the International Ski Federation (FIS) to move the start times of the events to earlier in the day. Events that start later in the day are more likely to have wind chill that is worse and temperatures that are much lower.

"We have the cold limits we have, there is not much to say about that. I do not know if they also measure the wind effect," Bystroem said.

The current temperature standards set by the FIS have a competition limit of -4 degrees Fahrenheit, in other words, competitions are postponed if it's any colder than that. During Karlsson's competition, it was about 8F, though Bystroem said the windchill was closer to -30F.

Bystroem said he understood that the events are timed so that European audiences could watch the events live.

"We have talked in the team about making a request (to race earlier) during the day if it's possible, at the same time I don't think it will be possible to change the time because of the Olympic schedule," he said to Reuters.

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Opheli Garcia Lawler is a staff writer at Thrillist. Follow her on Twitter @opheligarcia and Instagram @opheligarcia.