Krasnaya Polyana Weather Becoming a Factor

(ATR) Also: No pins for sale in Sochi ... Spectators still MIA despite ticket sales ... Robust crowd for Russian hockey presser

SOCHI, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 09:  A general view during the Ladies' Normal Hill Individual Ski Jumping training on day 2 of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at RusSki Gorki Jumping Center on February 9, 2014 in Sochi, Russia.  (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)
SOCHI, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 09: A general view during the Ladies' Normal Hill Individual Ski Jumping training on day 2 of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at RusSki Gorki Jumping Center on February 9, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

Weather Concerns for Sochi Mountain Events

Warm weather in the Krasnaya Polyana mountains is triggering concerns about the Olympic snow events.

At today’s joint press briefing of the IOC and Sochi organizers, the rain and sunny weather emerged as a possible headache for the Olympic debut of women’s ski jumping this evening.

Biathlon, cross-country, and slopestyle events are also taking place today in the mountains, some 40 kilometers from the Olympic Park in Sochi, with women’s downhill to come Wednesday.

At Rosa Khutor, it was between 4 and 5 degrees Celsius and cloudy on Tuesday morning.

But at the ski jumping center, where tonight 30 competitors will compete to win the first women’s Olympic gold in the sport, the forecast is for even warmer weather.

Figures from the Olympic News Service said it would be 6 or 7 degrees at the venue throughout today, with a low of 4 at 21:00. The first round of the event is at 21:30.

Warm weather could also make for icy conditions for the racers vying for gold in the women’s downhill on Wednesday morning. The ONS forecast said it would be sunny with temperatures of between 2 and 4 degrees when the event kicks off.

U.S. skier Ted Ligety, who competes in the super combined on Friday, says ice could actually level the playing field in some cases.

"Racers generally like ice because it's the most fair surface," said Ligety. "It's the same to run first as it is to run 30th in really good, hard conditions."

Ligety added, "If it becomes less consistent, softer snow, it becomes less fair of a race and start positions matter so much more."

Sochi 2014 officials today denied that the weather is having any major impact on snow events.

Spokeswoman Alexandra Kosterina told reporters that Sochi 2014 has a "strong contingency plan in place" if the weather remains warm and there is no fresh dump of snow.

She said Sochi has a special program that involved "snow preservation" from the previous winter sports season, with the additional possibility for snow-making if required.

While she added that some of this snow was used in preparations for the Games, the reserves have yet to be plundered.

No Pins for Sale

On day five of the Olympics, there are still no pins to be found in the retail outlets of Sochi Olympic Park. That includes the superstore open to park visitors in the Sponsor Pavilion Zone as well as the Sochi 2014 retail outlet serving the Main Press Center and the International Broadcast Center.

Asked about the absence of pins for sale, Sochi 2014 spokeswoman Alexandra Kosterina expressed surprise but had no immediate explanation as to why pins could not be found for sale. For now the handout pins from sponsors, NOCs, and media are the only ones around.

The five pins produced by Around the Rings featuring Russian President Vladimir Putin in winter sport poses are proving to be among the most collectible at these Games.

Tickets Sales Top 924,000; Where Are the Spectators?

Sochi organizers report surging ticket sales as the Games progress, insisting that 90% of seats have been sold so far. But while ticket sales are one thing, attendance is another issue. IOC and Sochi officials both used the term "packed" to describe the crowds at venues without providing exact numbers.

At every event attended by ATR staff, their reports indicate plenty of seats remained, although some events did approach capacity.

Estimates by Sochi about attendance at the Olympic Medals Plaza in the Olympic Park also seem shaky. The crowd, according to Games officials, for the Monday night ceremony was said to be 20,000. ATR estimates put the figure closer to 7,000.

Big Crowd for Russian Hockey, Dmitry’s Nightmare

The biggest crowd for a press conference so far during these Games rolled out for Monday’s appearance of the entire Russian hockey team. More than 200 media attended the briefing.

Sochi 2014 CEO Dmitry Chernyshenko talked about his youth and the horror movies he once watched. He listed his top three scary favorites. All are from America, he noted. There is "Nightmare on Elm Street" followed by "Friday the 13th."

But the scariest, he said, is "Miracle," the story of the U.S. triumph at the 1980 Winter Games.

Sochi Coordination Commission Suspends Meeting

Things are going so well in Sochi that the daily coordination commission meetings between the local organizing committee and the IOC are suspended unless things take a turn for the worse. The group has met first thing in the morning every day since the Games started.

Wo Ist Thomas?

IOC president Thomas Bach will sleep Tuesday night in the Olympic Village in the mountains. Sunday night he stayed in the village in the coastal cluster. Bach tells Around the Rings he slept well and enjoyed the OV breakfast.

Written by Ed Hula and Mark Bisson.

Homepage photo: Getty Images

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