Ski Chief Says PyeongChang Atmosphere 'Better Than Expected' -- ATRadio

(ATR) Gian Franco Kasper joins ATRadio to talk about skiing at PyeongChang 2018 and the future of the sport at the Games.

(ATR) International Ski Federation president Gian Franco Kasper says that high winds and lack of atmosphere have caused challenges for the federation during the PyeongChang 2018 Olympics.

"We had to postpone particularly because of the wind, not bad weather conditions but the wind was crazy and the Koreans said they haven’t seen anything like it in the last 15 to 20 years," Kasper tells Around the Rings on the latest edition of the ATRadio from PyeongChang.

"We are lucky for now we’ve got all of the races in, we have slight changes ahead but I think we’ll get it all down."

Kasper caught up with ATR Reporter Brian Pinelli while awaiting the start of the ladies downhill event at the Jeongseon Downhill venue, where some skiers have complained of a lack of Olympic-quality atmosphere. The ski chief agreed with the athletes, but said it could have been worse.

"They are absolutely right with the crowd," he said. "I have a certain understanding that in alpine skiing they don’t feel really at home because they can’t cheer anyone from their own nation but in principal we had more spectators than we ever expected."

Ahead of the PyeongChang Games, Kasper was involved with the International Olympic Committee commission that brokered the Olympic agreement between North and South Korea that brought 22 North Korean athletes to compete in South Korea. Kasper says he was impressed with the two North Korean skiers who competed at the Games last week.

"My impression was I expected worse to be honest. I watched them very carefully, they came down in a proper way and we’ve seen worse things in the past. If they continue to participate in international competitions sooner or later we’ll have acceptable North Korean skiers.

Kasper also talks about the potential future of the Jeongseon downhill venue as well as plans for the Beijing 2022 Winter Games. Listen to the full conversation below:

Written by Kevin Nutley

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