On Monday, adverse wind conditions took a toll on the female riders of the Olympic snowboard slopestyle final. The strong cross winds–which also canceled the event's qualifier–forced an hour delay for the final. This prompted many of the competitors to call for a reschedule, but Olympic organizers insisted on holding the event. As a result, the final competition was a “Shitshow," as Dutch snowboarder Cheryl Maas so eloquently termed it to Yahoo Sports.
Per Reuters, none of the riders were able to make two clean runs, and those who made the podium were forced to play it conservatively. The result was a watered down competition: Jamie Anderson’s 83.00 would have put her in sixth place at Sochi in 2014; on Monday it got her the gold.
In a television interview following the competition, Anderson herself didn't exactly sound elated.
“I’m not extremely proud of my run – back 5, cab 5, front 7 is pretty mellow," Anderson said. "That would barely get into finals in some events, but considering the conditions and everything, I feel pretty good.”
Anna Gasser, who was favored to win the event, was vocal about her frustration regarding the International Ski Federation’s (FIS) decision to push ahead.
“Yes, it should have been postponed," Gasser said to Reuters. "We tried to speak to officials but the Olympics put us under pressure to do it today”
Considering that Giant Slalom was canceled due to the same inclement weather, she alongside many of the competitors questioned why slopestyle didn’t receive the same treatment.
“It’s a little funny that they can move the downhill five days and they pressure us into riding in these conditions,” Gasser stated.
Gasser, like many of the competitors, didn’t even make a run without falling. However, the FIS argued in a statement of their defense that “the nature of outdoor sports also requires adapting to the elements,” and they wouldn’t have staged the event if conditions were unsafe.
American Hailey Langland, who placed sixth, agreed with FIS’s decision to not cancel the event.
“We are snowboarders and should be able to deal with it," Langland told Reuters. "The girls on the podium showed that and that is why they are up there.”
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