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Extreme weather at the Calgary Olympics

The Story

The beautiful weather has gotten everyone down. Unusually mild temperatures coupled with record strong winds lead to dozens of events being rescheduled. As heard in this CBC Radio report, the weather is taking its toll on athletes. The high winds have caught even long time residents by surprise: "Everyone was worried about snow... no one thought about the wind." Rob McCormick, a technical advisor to the Games, says cancellations could have been avoided if the organizers had put up windscreens that were recommended in the first place. Francis Saville, the venue chairman of Canada Olympic Park, dismisses the remark saying there's no point in second-guessing.

Medium: Radio
Program: Sunday Morning
Broadcast Date: Feb. 28, 1988
Host: Linden MacIntyre
Reporter: Nancy Durham
Duration: 3:29

Did You know?

• In the end, a total of 33 events had to be rescheduled at the 1988 Calgary Winter Games, including alpine events, ski jumping and luge.
• A chinook is a warm, dry wind that occurs during Alberta winters. Usually welcomed during Calgary's cold winters, it caused huge headaches for Olympic organizers as temperatures fluctuated from –30 to a balmy 12 Celsius over night.
• Record winds as high as 120 km/h prevented many events from going on as scheduled.

• Weather wasn't the only source of frustration at the Calgary Games. One of Canada's biggest disappointments came in hockey. The Soviets crushed Canada 5-0 on Feb. 24, 1988, eliminating all hope for a medal for Canada. Team U.S.S.R. went on to win the gold. That was a marked changed from Canada's performance in the first Winter Games in 1924. Back then, Canada's hockey team easily won the tournament, scoring 110 goals in six games and only letting in three goals.

• One of Canada's most decorated Olympians Gaetan Boucher's performance was also a letdown. The four-time Olympic speed skater (silver in 1980, two golds and a bronze in 1984) was hoping to "retire in a blaze of glory" after the 1988 Winter Olympics. Instead his best place finish was fifth.


The Calgary Olympics: The Winter of '88 more