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ATLANTA 1996 OLYMPICS

Feeling The Heat In Atlanta

July 23, 1996|Times Wire Services

Heat plus humidity equals thunderstorms, and that formula proved dangerous Monday.

Dark skies spat lightning and dumped torrential rain on terrified yacht crews at Savannah, Ga., forcing officials to cancel 13 of 16 scheduled heats on the first day of medal competition.

Some of the sailors, including the Australian Tornado crew of Mitch Booth and Andrew Landenberger, jumped into the water for safety as lightning whipped across the water. The Tornado heats were later canceled.

Australian Paul McKenzie couldn't wait to receive word that the second Finn race of the day had been canceled. "I think they're keeping us out here just to kill us," he said as he waited for official instructions.

Defending champion Jose Maria van der Ploeg from Spain won the Finns by eight seconds, although he clearly would have preferred to be somewhere else as the storm closed in.

"I was very, very scared of the thunder and lightning," he said. "Lightning was hitting the water around me."

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)

Feeling The Heat In Atlanta

Monday's Temperature: 95 degrees

Monday Heat Index: 106 degrees

Today's Forecast: 94 degrees

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