By Tom Degun in Innsbruck

Innsbruck heavy_snowJanuary 21 - The sporting schedule for the Winter Youth Olympics here has been disrupted after heavy snowfall in a 24 hour period covered the region for the second time this month.


The biggest casualty of the brutal weather conditions was the ski cross finals, which have been cancelled entirely.

"At today's jury meeting – in consultation with the Organising Committee, the International Ski Federation (FIS) and International Olympic Committee (IOC) – the unanimous decision was made to eventually cancel the ski cross finals and thereby confirm the Qualification results for men and women as the final standings," said an Innsbruck 2012 statement on the issue.

"Because of snowfalls of up to 70 centimetres during the night in combination with strong winds which are set to continue through to tomorrow, there would be a minimum of three days' work needed to get a race started, with less snowfall and wind."

The announcement means that Niki Lehikoinen of Finland takes gold in the men's ski cross event with 50.00 points, Marzellus Renn of Germany the silver with 40.00 and Matty Herauf of Canada the bronze with 30.00.

In the women's ski cross Michaela Heider (pictured) of Austria picked up the gold with 90.00 points, Veronika Camkova of the Czech Republic the silver with 72.00 and Emilie Benz of Switzerland the bronze with 54.00.

Michaela Heider_Innsbruck_2012_at_start

All competition scheduled for Kühtai, where the freestyle skiing and snowboard are taking place, has been delayed to tomorrow after originally being postponed to today although it remains to be seen if they can take place at all with tomorrow being the last day of the event.

Due to the weather getting worse, organisers have also moved the men's slalom event to an earlier time.

Innsbruck has been relatively untroubled by snow since the event began but it was a major problem in the days leading up to the event when it forced many major roads and railways to close.

The travel disruption affected many of the teams heading to the Winter Youth Olympics, such as France who were forced to pass through Germany to get to the event after Brenner Pass, one of the principal mountain passes of the Alps, was closed due to the weather.

It was only following hard work from Innsbruck 2012 staff and the Austrian military that managed to clear the snow in time for the event.

But once again, the snowfall has hit the region and caused transport chaos with organisers hoping that the weather clears by the Closing Ceremony tomorrow evening in order to avoid problems for teams hoping to attend.

The Closing Ceremony will take place at in Maria-Theresien-Strasse, one of the busiest streets of the city, with a sell-out 4,000 spectators scheduled to attend.

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