Which Olympic Sport is most sensitive to the current weather?

An interesting email exchange between Trevor Smith, lead forecaster for the 2010 Winter Olympic Games and Brad Snyder, Head of Science, Transfer and Training at the Pacific Storm Prediction Centre…

From: Snyder,Brad

Sent: Tuesday, February 18, 2014 12:14 PM

To: Smith,Trevor
Cc: Jones,David B

Subject: The 3rd Winter Olympics

Check out this vintage clip from Lake Placid in 1932. At ~1:10 in the clip they show the ski jump. At ~2:05 you can see the flags just blowing like a dingbat. It’s hard to imagine jumping in those conditions! IIIIEEEEEEYAH!

Brad

From: Smith,Trevor

Sent: Tuesday, February 18, 2014 3:25 PM
To: Snyder,Brad

Cc: Jones,David B
Subject: RE: The 3rd Winter Olympics

Amazing stuff Brad, no helmets and every other skier crashes, head bouncing off the snow.  Can only imagine The undiagnosed head injuries. And the lack of snow ? Was the ski jump held in Central Park?!!

Have you guys watched any ski jump action in Sochi?

They have developed a points adjustment system for wind on the ski jump. Points are added for a tail-wind and subtracted for a head-wind. We’re not sure how the formula works or how they devised the system (based on jumpers historical performances in various winds, physics, or a combo?) but it probably makes the competition “fairer”.  And, according to Chris E and Andrew, easier on the judges and the venue forecasters by allowing the competition to continue through a wider spectrum of wind conditions.

Wikipedia mentions the points compensation for wind conditions was developed in Jan 2010. The compensation for in run length was done at Whistler Olympic Park but not for wind according to Chris E.

From Wikipedia:

In January 2010, a new scoring system was introduced to compensate for variable outdoor conditions. Aerodynamics and take-off speed are important variables that determine the value of a jump, and if weather conditions change during a competition, the conditions will not be equal for everyone, which is unfair. The jumper will now receive or lose points if the in run length is adjusted. An advanced calculation also determines plus/minus points for the actual wind conditions at the time of the jump. These points are added or withdrawn from the original scores from the jump itself.

Trevor

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