Winter Olympics

Earthquake, high winds and risk of fire hits Pyeongchang Winter Olympics

After a bitterly cold first night of competition, a shallow 4.6-magnitude earthquake jolted the eastern portion of South Korea on Saturday.

An earthquake triggered an alert and high winds disrupted competition at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics Sunday, as officials warned of a severe freeze and urged fans to wrap up warm. After a bitterly cold first night of competition, a shallow 4.6-magnitude earthquake jolted the eastern portion of South Korea overnight, prompting warnings on mobile phones.

Early on Sunday, ski officials were forced to postpone the showpiece men’s downhill until Thursday as buffeting winds made the high-speed slope too dangerous for competition. Later, the women’s slopestyle snowboarding also fell victim to the wind, as the qualifying session was scrapped with riders going straight into the final on Monday.

It comes after the first ski jumping final finished more than an hour behind schedule, past midnight on Saturday, as competitors were held up by swirling winds. As if to complete the set of extreme conditions, an alert warning of a high risk of fire – given the dry, windy weather – also flashed up on mobile phones on Sunday.

Organisers gave assurances that the Games were at no risk from earthquakes, with venues built to withstand even strong tremors. Sunday’s quake was measured at magnitude-4.7 by the US Geological Survey and was about 260 kilometres (160 miles) away.

“All the facilities in the Games area are built so they can withstand strong earthquakes over 7.0... so I assure you there was no issue regarding these facilities,” said Sung Baik-you, spokesman for the Games organisers. Of more concern for the sparse crowds at the outdoor events will be the biting cold, which has already made Pyeongchang one of the chilliest Olympics on record – and which is set to dramatically worsen.

‘Wear hats and gloves’

Temperatures are forecast to plunge to -14 degrees Celsius (6.8 Fahrenheit) on Monday, will feel like a shivering -25C in the strong, mountainside wind.

“People are advised to dress warmly and wear hats and gloves to keep themselves warm,” warned Sung. The wind has made life tough so far for competitors, with several athletes complaining of difficult conditions.

“The conditions were pretty crazy today just because of the wind,” said Canada’s Max Parrot, after finishing second in the men’s slopestyle snowboarding on Sunday. “Sometimes we have front winds, sometimes we have tailwinds. I think we could all see the difficulty today in the runs.”

The men’s ski jumping was particularly unpleasant, as the athletes had to contend with freezing cold at the top of the hill as well as their nerves as the delayed competition dragged on.

“It was cold as ice up there,” said Austria’s Michael Hayboeck, who finished 17th, while Poland’s Dawid Kubacki said the wind made the competition “a lottery”. “It was really bad for me, what I can do?” he asked. “It’s something I have no influence on. I need to jump in the conditions when they let me go.”

However, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) said the ski jumpers were never in danger. “Athlete safety is our number one concern,” said spokesman Mark Adams. “All these venues are organised in very close contact with the federations. “We’re very, very confident the federations and athletes know what they can and can’t do.”

-Inputs from AFP

Support our journalism by subscribing to Scroll+ here. We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in.
Sponsored Content BY 

Innovations in payment options are making premium products more accessible

No need for documentation or applications to own high-quality items

Credit cards have long been associated with an aspirational lifestyle. The ability to buy something out of your wish list without needing to pay the entire amount can tempt even the most disciplined shoppers. A designer couch, the latest mobile phone, a home entertainment system or a car, as long as you can pay back the borrowed amount within the grace period, your credit card purchases know no bounds.

However, credit cards, pre-approved or not, come with a number of complications. The tedious application procedure starts with the collection and submission of various documents. Moreover, there are several reasons your credit card application might get rejected including low income that compromises your repayment capability, certain occupations or work history, mistakes in the application form, possession of multiple cards or even a failed physical verification attempt. While applying for a credit card might have become easier, the success of the application can take time and effort.

Credit card owners are regaled with benefits all year round with attractive EMIs, offers on purchases, airline miles, lounge access, cashbacks and a plethora of exclusive deals. It’s worth noting that debit card owners don’t get even half of these benefits and offers, despite the sheer size of the debit card customer base in the country (846.7 million compared to 36.2 million credit card holders).

This imbalance of finance and purchase options between credit card and debit card owners is slowly changing. For instance, the new EMIs on debit card feature on Flipkart ensures affordability and accessibility to Indian consumers who don’t own credit cards. The payment innovation increases the purchasing power of the consumer. By providing credit access to non-credit card holders, expensive and high-quality products are made more affordable for a large base of customers without denting their cash flow. The video below comically captures a scenario that people who don’t own a credit card will relate to.

Play

Flipkart’s EMIs on debit card feature doesn’t require a minimum account balance, documentation, nor does it charge a processing fee, making online shopping a seamless experience even for more high-end products. To find out if you’re eligible for EMIs on debit card, see here.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Flipkart and not by the Scroll editorial team.