YANQING, China: It's not only the wind whipping the pistes that is cold up on the mountains hosting the Beijing Olympics.
After high winds on Sunday (Feb 6) forced organisers to postpone the Alpine flagship event, the men's downhill race, Germany's coach lamented there was no hot food available for athletes racing on the brand new course nicknamed "The Rock".
"The catering is extremely questionable, because really it's not catering at all ... I would have expected that the Olympic Committee is capable of providing hot meals," Christian Schwaiger told reporters.
"There are no hot meals. There are crisps, some nuts and chocolate and nothing else. This shows a lack of focus on high-performance sport," he said adding that it was different at other races, for example at the World Cup.
The Alpine course near Yanqing with 100 per cent artificial snow, ski lifts, gondolas, roads and accommodation were all built for the 2022 Games and have never been used in a big event before.
Schwaiger asked for the catering to be improved days ago but said nothing had changed. However, the food in the nearby athletes' village was great, he said, echoing athletes from several nations.
Meanwhile, the US team came prepared with camping food such as bags of pasta that just need hot water to make a meal.
While other big events typically offer a buffet for athletes, stricter coronavirus protocols might be the reason for cold catering in Yanqing, a US team spokeswoman said, adding it was also possible to bring food from the athletes' village.
Austrian medal contender Matthias Mayer conceded it was a special situation, saying more established racing hubs such as Austria's Kitzbuehel compared more favourably by offering "the best of the best".
However, he added that the Austrian team had also brought food up the mountain although a hot meal right before a race was not conducive to producing top performances.