The Olympic Games are hotting up in Sochi, but unfortunately so is the weather.
As the temperatures rise, the snow is turning to slush and the conditions are becoming increasingly inconsistent.
2006 gold medalist Ted Ligety, explained that skiers usually prefer icy conditions, “It's the same running first as it is to run 30th if it's really good conditions. That's really the main reason we like it icy. It's also more consistent underfoot and it feels safer to push on, safer to push your body, push the line, push the skiing.”
Sochi was always expected to be relatively mild. It has a warmer climate than any other city which has hosted the Winter Games, and the fact that you could swim in the sea in the morning, then go skiing in the afternoon, was used as a selling point for the city during the bid for the Games in 2007.
The town of Adler, with its palm-fringed promenade, reported a top temperature of 16C (61F) on Monday and temperatures are expected to climb again over the next few days.
Sunshine is expected to tempt the temperatures up to 16C again on Friday and Saturday, and even during the night they shouldn’t drop below 7C.
As you might expect, in the mountains, the temperatures are significantly lower, but the difference is only estimated to be about 5C. This means that the course will not see temperatures below freezing for several days.
The snow will not run out. Organisers stored 700,000 cubic metres of snow for the event, but during the day conditions will become slushy as the snow and ice continues to melt.
The next Winter Olympics will be a stark contrast. The 2018 games will be held in Pyeongchang, South Korea, where the average high temperature is 0C. There won’t be a palm tree in sight.