Men's biathlon race postponed again

KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia -- The men's 15-kilometer mass-start biathlon race at the Olympics has been postponed for another day because of fog and is now set to on Tuesday at 2:30 p.m.

The fog eventually subsided and the women's mass-start race went ahead at its scheduled 7 p.m. start.

The men's race initially was delayed by one hour and then postponed Sunday because fog made for poor visibility on the shooting range. It was reset for Monday at 10 a.m. However, with fog still hanging over the course, organizers delayed the start for at least another 5½ hours before calling it off as conditions failed to improve.

Martin Fourcade of France will be going for his third gold medal of the Sochi Olympics, while Ole Einar Bjoerndalen of Norway could win a record 13th Winter Olympic medal.

The fog is causing a new challenge for the athletes following days of sunshine and unseasonably warm weather. At the Laura Cross Country Ski and Biathlon Center, the high temperatures toward the end of last week had softened the snow and led to some cross-country skiers cutting off the sleeves on their suits.

In biathlon, fog is an even bigger problem because it limits the visibility on the shooting range.

"You have to be able to hit the targets," said Jerry Kokesh, the editor of the IBU's official website, adding that the course becomes more dangerous as well. "Uphills are not a problem, but downhills are. ... That can be a serious safety concern."

Rescheduling a race can be a tricky issue because of the tight Olympic schedule for both organizers and broadcasters. Lange said IBU officials make the decision when a race has to be moved, but the International Olympic Committee then has to give its approval.

Weather disruptions are not unusual in any skiing discipline, and there are options for the IBU if the mass-start race can't go ahead Monday because both Tuesday and Thursday are off-days.

"There is a Plan B," Lange said. "But it's not official."

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.