Goodwill Games: Deep freeze needed: Headaches on ice

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The Independent Online
THE WATER which has refused to freeze in St Petersburg's Yubileiny Palace of Sports caused further headaches and embarrassment for the Goodwill Games organisers yesterday when the short-track speed-skating competition had to be transferred to another venue.

It is the second time an event has been rescheduled: the swimming was put off for a day because of murky water in the pool.

The Games president, Jack Kelly, said the switch was necessary to allow the ice surface to cure and thicken for the showcase figure-skating competition, scheduled to start tonight.

'Unfortunately, this wonderful weather we've been getting is great for everything except making ice in a building that doesn't have air conditioning,' Kelly said.

The first session had already been postponed from the afternoon to the evening because of the the rink, and officials decided to stage the first day of competition at the practice rink at the Palace of Sports of the Soviet Army Club, where there were chaotic scenes as workmen tried to get the venue ready.

About 500 police were drafted in to help and the competition was delayed a further 30 minutes to allow spectators time to travel from the original rink.

Back on dry ground, Russia's men won the gymnastics team event with almost embarrassing ease, cruising to victory over Belarus in an anti-climactic competition which was effectively over shortly after it began. The Russian four-man squad overwhelmed the remainder of the competition and won five of the six events.