Sub-zero temperatures on the South Korean slopes will favour US skiers at this month's Winter Olympics because they are accustomed to brutal conditions at home, men's head coach Sasha Rearick said on Tuesday.
Sasha Rearick (C), team members Ted Ligety (L) and Ryan Cochran-Siegle (R) pose for photos after their press conference before the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang on February 6, 2018.
Two days ahead of the first downhill training run, the temperature in Pyeongchang was minus 7 degrees Celsius (19 Fahrenheit), actually somewhat milder than in recent weeks, with both athletes and spectators braced for a chilly Games.
"First of all, I see it as an awesome opportunity for us," Rearick told reporters when asked how the weather would affect the team at the Feb. 9-25 Games.
"Most of these guys grew up skiing Lake Louise when they were kids, the east coast boys all had to ski Sugarloaf (Maine) and Lake Placid -- very cold places, brutal humidity. I know my boys are tougher, so I'm just going, like, 'I hope it's cold'."
Double Olympic champion Ted Ligety told a news conference: "It's fine skiing when it's cold, it's just you gotta keep your boots warm I guess... You've got to tape your face in the speed events, I think, probably."
American hopes in the Alpine skiing events are riding mainly on Ligety for the men, and Lindsey Vonn and Mikaela Shiffrin for the women.
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Rearick said the team was taking no chances with health and hygiene in the run-up to competition after organisers moved to combat a norovirus outbreak among private security staff.
"We're disinfecting rooms, hand sanitiser everywhere, making sure hydration's taken care of, and as soon as someone's sick, isolate them and quarantine them, basically," he said.
"Here at the Games we don't stay in the (athletes') village, we stay in our own compound where we have our own chefs and our own food.
"One part of that is to try to keep the home feeling. We cook American food that the guys like, that's also healthy -- and then controlling the environment, where we try to minimise our exposure (to illness)."