We are only a couple of days into the 2014 Winter Olympic Games and history is already being made. It has been interesting to watch the coverage of Snowboard Slopestyle over the last couple of days. The course was getting a lot of bad press in terms of smooth transitions and overall design. The world watched as some athletes got injured during training, including a broken collarbone from Torstein Horgmo, a concussion from Chirsty Prior, and hurt wrist from Shaun White, which eventually led to him pulling out of the entire competition. After White pulled out, viewers really got a sense that the course must have been considerably different to what riders are used to at these events.
With all of that being said, these types of obstacles are what make Slopestyle such an exciting event. While watching the riders practice, you are really able to see the progression as they learn the course, adapt to the elements, and build a run from there. Well, after watching the finals you would wonder if they ever had a problem with the course as all of the athletes put on a great show.
In the Men’s division we watched as favorite, Mark McMorris, took a fall in his first run, keeping the tension high going into everyone’s final run. As American athlete Sage Kostenburg dropped into his run, every trick had this style to it that you couldn’t help but notice. Starting on the rail section up top he squeezed in a tweak here and there that added flair to the difficulty of his tricks. We could see the energy in his face after his runs, giving you a sense that he was more than happy with how things were shaping up. Throwing in a 1620 Japan Air Mute Grab, a trick named “The Holy Crail”, was a highlight for everyone as it was the first time he had landed that trick. His joy was met with a gold medal in the first ever Slopestyle competition, a moment for the athletes and viewers alike to enjoy a piece of Olympic history.
In Women’s Slopestyle there was a fight to the finish. After finishing 2nd at the X Games a couple of weeks ago, American Jamie Anderson was considered a favorite to win Gold coming into Sochi. After her first run she found herself in 5th place, which turned the pressure up going into her final run. After stomping every trick she ended up with a score of 95.25 putting her into first with 2 riders left to go. Holding onto 1st place Jamie Anderson poured out her excitement after realizing she had won gold, giving Team USA a sweep in gold medals for Slopestyle. Also, bringing a bit of history into the mix was Jenny Jones taking home the Bronze, being the first snow sports medal ever for Britain.
It has been a great start to what is sure to be an amazing Winter Olympics. Check back in for more updates as the competitions continue in Sochi.
Link to schedule and current medal results: http://www.nbcolympics.com/medals