For the past two and a half weeks I have been in Are, Sweden for the 2007 FIS Ski World Championships. We arrived on a Wednesday and I left this past Sunday, only three days short of three weeks! It was great to be able to settle in and stay in one spot for a while but it got a little long by the end. Throughout the winter season we get used to being at a different place every week, although not everyone stayed for the whole length of the championships, but there were a good bunch of us who stuck it out right to the last event. However, this being my first world championships since 2003, I was pretty happy to be there, however long it took!
The first event to go was the super G, followed by the downhill training runs. We were supposed to have a few days of training before the first race, and the men would run the day before us to open the championships. But that would only happen in an ideal world. As it turns out, we arrived and the temperatures were sitting at zero degrees Celsius and as the race days were getting closer the weather was getting worse — I don’t think you could have even run a slalom in the weather they were getting!
So, things were delayed, and delayed, and delayed again. The men’s super G was cancelled right away and then the following day, the ladies super G day, was cancelled as well. In the first few days our weather days were being used up, and the downhill events hadn’t even started. I think it was at this point that the stress levels of the organizers reached a breaking point.
The apartments that we were staying in were right near the race hills, as were the other teams’. On the days of the cancelled events, we would look out our front window and see all the spectators walking past towards the finish area, only to walk back out again when the races were cancelled. I felt mostly for them, they should have been given notice at home if the race was on or not and saved themselves a trip.
The weather continued to persist for the next few days; high winds, snow and fog would not allow us to start the first events. The hardest thing about this for a racer is having to keep your motivation up and to keep your head into the race, day after day. On top of that, these are the world championships where you are hoping for your best performance of the season — this is the time to peak.