Allergy to cold didn't stop Canadian skier Noah Bowman

Canadian halfpipe skier Noah Bowman overcame an an allergy to cold temperatures when he was younger...

Canadian halfpipe skier Noah Bowman overcame an an allergy to cold temperatures when he was younger and is now a medal threat at the Sochi Olympics. (AL CHAREST/QMI Agency)

Steve Buffery, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 5:10 PM ET

SOCHI, RUSSIA - Canadian halfpipe skier Noah Bowman has had to overcome much more adversity than most athletes. In fact, it’s something of a miracle that the 21-year-old is competing at the Winter Olympics.

Bowman has an allergy to cold temperatures, and competes in the halfpipe — on mountains and snow. About four years ago, the Calgary native started to notice signs of cold urticaria when he was eating his morning cereal.

“It was pretty strange,” said Bowman. “It came out of nowhere one summer. I started having swelling in my hands when I touched cold things and it kept getting worse to the point that when holding my cereal bowl in the morning, the cold milk would make my hand swell.

“I just thought it was so weird, but didn’t think a whole lot about it, and jumped into a really cold lake one time. I ended up having an anaphylactic reaction where my throat swelled up. I went completely blind and lost my energy for a little while.”

However, instead of ending his career, Bowman’s affliction just spurred him on to the point where he’s a potential medal shot here in Sochi.

“I knew it wouldn’t stop me from skiing,” he said. “The doctors said I would have to stop, but I knew I could cover up or find some way around the direct contact with the cold. I covered up a lot and I ended up just growing out of it after a year. It just faded away and I am not affected by it any more.”

FEELING DOWN UNDER

The postponement of men’s snowboard cross at Rosa Khutor Extreme Park on Monday could prove to be a bit of a nightmare for the family of Australian Cameron Bolton. His mother and father are booked to fly out of Russia on Tuesday after what was supposed to be the conclusion of their son’s race on Monday, and their visas are tied to the flight. But dense fog forced a postponement before a race could be run on Monday, meaning the Bolton family will be returning to watch Cameron compete just as their visas are expiring.

“We’re going to need to find someone who speaks both English and Russian to help us get through the system, because it was hard enough in Australia,” said Cameron’s mother, Pie Bolton.

According to an e-mail from the Russian consulate in Australia, the Boltons cannot extend their tourist visas, with any overstay likely to be met with a fine and “blacklisting from the Russian Federation.”

SIDE SPLITTING FUN

Canadian bobsled pilot Christopher Spring appears to have been enjoying the Sochi cuisine a little too much. Spring tweeted a picture of himself in his racesuit which is split across his belly, saying: “I tried on my race suit ahead of tomorrow’s two-man Olympic race and its a little, er, tight. #powerbelly”

CREATING WAVES ON FROZEN WATER

Dutch speed skater Jorien ter Mors created some waves when she said she prefers short track to long track, even after she won the women’s long track gold medal in the 1,500 metres on Sunday night.

“If I have to choose between long track or short track, my heart really goes to short track. I worked my ass off for that little track, that’s why it’s close to me,” said ter Mors after her win. “I will always be a short tracker. Only long track does not make me happy.”

Those comments didn’t sit well with Dutch long track coach Gerard Kemkers.

“Well, it’s clear where her heart is,” Kemkers said. “But it (ter Mors’ comments) feels weird. If she says it like this, what can I say? It’s just strange when you look at the way she celebrated her gold medal though.”

The Dutch debate speed skating like Canadians debate hockey.

CRAZY CURLING CAT

Marcel Rocque, the Canadian coach of the Chinese men’s curling team, has an interesting take on why the Chinese squad will surprise some opponents here at the Sochi Olympics. “I think there’s an element of creativity with the Chinese education system that allows them to see strategy a little bit differently than other countries.” (If Rocque says that in Canada, somebody rips him).

MEAT OF THE PROBLEM

Legendary figure skating coach Frank Carroll attended a party thrown by the Kazakhstan delegation in Sochi in honour of his skater Denis Ten, who won the bronze medal in men’s singles. Carroll was offered him horse meat, to which he replied: “How can you eat horse? They are so nice, but they are dirty.” To which he was told: “Cows are dirtier than horses.” (Deer are even dirtier than cows. Ever heard of a stag party?)

FUN WITH WORDS

According to the official Sochi Olympic news service, the Olympic tradition of trading pins is “hotting up.” (We were told in high school that “hotting up” causes brain damage).

QUOTES OF THE DAY

“Talking to some of the other Olympians, we’re just as tired as any other endurance athlete, but we have to look pretty when we do it.”

— Canadian ice dancer Mitchell Islam on the challenges facing himself and partner-on-the-ice Alexandra Paul.

“If in 2010 ... we were sitting in a Formula One car, then this time we were sitting in a trabby (Trabant, an East German car).”

- Kevin Kuske of Germany after bombing out in 11th place in the GER-2 jalopy, er, sled in the men’s two-man bobsleigh final.

steve.buffery@sunmedia.ca

twitter @beezersun


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