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WINTER

Double world figure skating champion Javier Fernandez retiring

Spaniard Javier Fernandez, a double world champion in figure skating, confirmed on Wednesday that he will retire after the European championships in Minsk on in January.

Double world figure skating champion Javier Fernandez retiring
Javier Fernandez took Bronze at the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang. Photo: AFP

“I retire this season,” Fernandez said at an event organised by Spanish newspaper ABC, adding that “I prefer to retire when I think it's the right moment, when I'm happy with my sporting career and when I have a project for the future.”

He said that at 27 he could keep competing but asked “at what level?”   

The skater had already hinted that the championships, 21-27 January, could mark his farewell, saying in September that he had “nothing else planned” for later this season.

“If I see that I will not be at the highest level because mentally or physically I'm not up to it, that's the body and we have to accept it, I have to accept it,” he said.

Fernandez won world titles in 2015 and 2016 and has won the last six European championships. He finally added an Olympic medal when he took bronze in Pyeongchang in January. 

“I will stop competing but not skating,” Fernandez said in a video publicising his show 'Revolution on Ice', with which he is touring Spain.

His gala performance at the Olympics was a masterpiece:

 
WATCH: Spain's Olympic Bronze figure skater is the superhero we all need 

WEATHER

Spain’s capital delays reopening of schools after historic snowfall

Madrid's regional government on Friday postponed the opening of schools until January 20 because many roads remained blocked a week after Spain's worst snowstorm in decades.

Spain's capital delays reopening of schools after historic snowfall
Children riding sleds are pulled by their parents amid a heavy snowfall in Madrid on January 9, 2021: AFP

The region's 2,557 schools had been set to reopen on Monday but access to over half of them, or 57.6 percent, remains difficult because of the snow and ice, the regional government said in a statement.

Clean-up crews will “continue working intensely over the following days” to ensure school can open as planned, it added.

Storm Filomena dumped 50 centimetres (20 inches) of snow on Madrid between last Friday and Saturday, leaving the city and large swathes of the country impassable.

AFP

The storm had been blamed for five deaths. It was followed by several days of plunging temperatures, which hardened mounds of snow and slush.

ANALYSIS: Should Madrid be declared a disaster zone as true cost of storm damage emerges?

While main arteries have been cleared, hundreds of side streets remained caked in snow and ice which has disrupted post delivery and rubbish collection, with huge piles of refuse piled up around overflowing bins across Madrid.

A pile of garbage bags is pictured in Madrid on January 14, 2021. Gabriel BOUYS / AFP

READ ALSO: IN PICS: Spectacular images of snow-covered Spain from the air

About a third of all streets, or 30.3 percent of all streets have been cleared, according to Madrid city hall which estimates the storm caused at least 1.4 billion euros ($1.7 billion) in damage.

Madrid mayor Jose Luis Martinez-Almeida said the storm dumped more than 1.2 million kilos of snow on the city, enough to form a line of trucks stretching from Madrid to Brussels.

He has called on the central government to declare the area a disaster zone, a move that would trigger emergency aid and other measures.

But the central government wants to wait for a final evaluation of the damage before it decides whether to declare Madrid a disaster area, Transport Minister Jose Luis Abalos told reporters.

People walk amid a heavy snowfall in Madrid on January 9, 2021. GABRIEL BOUYS / AFP

Meanwhile, Madrid three main art museums — the Prado, the Thyssen-Bornemisza and the Reina Sofia, the home of Picasso's masterpiece “Guernica” — all announced that they would reopen on Monday for the first time since the storm hit.

People enjoy the snow outside the Royal Palace in Madrid on January 9, 2021. Gabriel BOUYS / AFP

READ ALSO: LATEST: Big freeze across Spain set to last into next week

READ ALSO: Ten phrases to talk about cold and wet weather like a true Spaniard

 

 

 

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