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Weather a hot topic at the Sochi Olympics

SOCHI, RUSSIA — It’s not as if no one could see this coming.

A subtropical resort where generations of Russians have wintered to escape the cold is having trouble being cold enough to host the Winter Olympics.

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On Monday, temperatures that tickled 60 degrees softened the snow in the ski jump landing center and cut into snowboarders’ ability to cut.

Somehow, “told ya so” just doesn’t quite say it.

Down at Black Sea level, some of the ubiquitous English-speaking volunteers took off their multicolored parkas and wrapped them around their waists. Two security scanners at the Olympic Village complained it was so hot they were sweating.

Most of the Russian personnel at these Olympics come from elsewhere in the country, where only a handful of hundreds of weather stations across the country reported temperatures above freezing.

The buzz on the commuter train from the Olympic Park to central Sochi was a singsong competition of who has the worst weather back home.

“It’s minus-28 at our place,” said a woman from Yamal-Nenets in northwestern Siberia.

“Oh, that’s warm,” said a man from Yakutsk, where it was minus-30. “We don’t even cancel school for that.”

No one expected the Americans to place in this event, much less medal.

Just like we have a hard time picturing palm trees in Russia, some people here think of the United States as a giant mashup of Texas, Monument Valley, and southern Arizona.

After studying a few iPhone snapshots of the last nor’easter, everyone decided America had the third-worst weather, after Yamal-Nenets and Yakutsk. And neither of those places had a snowstorm headed their way.

Stepping off the train, I met two Sochi natives who were casting a disgruntled eye through the fronds of a palm grove at the leaden sky that made the Black Sea gray.

“Terrible weather today,” sniffed the first.

“Oh yes, terrible,” nodded his friend.

I wanted to kick them.

David Filipov can be reached at ollow him on Twitter @davidfilipov.
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