Heavy Downpour has Hurdlers Running on Slick Track in Olympic Qualifying
RIO DE JANEIRO – They kept telling us it’s winter in Brazil. Now we know that to be true.
On Monday night, a torrential downpour delayed the athletics competition at the Olympic Stadium by 40 minutes. The skies opened up around 8:30 p.m. local time with the men’s hurdles on the track and the women’s discus throwers using the field.
The first hurdles heat took place in light rain. The second somehow still got off in spite of what felt like a monsoon.
Balazs Baji, of Hungary, covered his head with a track cone in the second heat.
“I probably shouldn’t have done it but it was really raining so I tried to look for cover,” Baji said. “I just assumed the hurdles were there. The raindrops were so hard, I had to close my eyes. I hit the last hurdle so hard – that’s why I came second.”
After a 29-minute break, the third hurdles heat featured Brazilian Joao Vitor de Oliveira sliding on his belly across the finish line to qualify for the semifinal.
Canadian Shawn Barber quickly packed up his poles when the rain started to keep them dry. The action resumed near an hour later, and the Torontonian is attempting to win Canada’s 14th medal of the Rio Games.