FIS Dismisses Snowboarders' Concerns Over Windy Conditions
The Int' Ski Federation (FIS) has "dismissed the concerns of snowboarders who complained about treacherous conditions at the women’s slopestyle by telling them that 'nobody was forced to go down and compete,'" according to Sean Ingle of the GUARDIAN. A number of snowboarders "expressed their anger at the FIS’s decision to allow the event to go ahead in 30mph crosswinds" yesterday. FIS Communications Manager Jenny Wiedeke insisted that "while conditions were tough they were also safe." Ingle notes there were only "nine clean runs out of 52 in total with riders falling, face-planting or pulling up because they couldn’t build enough speed" (GUARDIAN, 2/13). YAHOO SPORTS' Ryan Young notes many snowboarders "weren’t happy" about the decision and were "quick to voice their frustrations." Norwegian snowboarder Silje Norendal, who finished fourth, said, "When it’s alpine, they have a higher status. And they really want a good show. I feel like we’re definitely coming in second. We can actually get super hurt. And it’s just really unfair. It’s such a young sport. It’s just sad that we all feel sometimes that we’re coming in second." Canadian snowboarder Spencer O'Brien: "There was no riders’ meeting to discuss options or to see if the majority wanted to ride or didn’t want to ride. We just got told we had to go" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 2/13). Austrian snowboarder Anna Gasser, who fell on both her runs after being the pre-event favorite, added, "It should have been postponed. We tried to speak to officials but the Olympics put us under pressure to do it today. It’s a little funny that they can move the downhill five days and they pressure us into riding in these conditions" (SYDNEY MORNING HERALD, 2/13).
MONEY RULES EVERYTHING: YAHOO SPORTS' Jeff Passan wrote the event "should not have run Monday," but the competitors' "well-being was sacrificed to the altar of the television networks that pay billions of dollars to program the Olympics." A "hole tore open in NBC's primetime programming" with the cancellation of the giant slalom, and both rounds of slopestyle "filled it, if not quite ably." FIS never bothered to go into the snowboarders’ tent and "solicit the opinion of the women without whom there would be no television program because doing so would’ve disrupted the power dynamic that gives FIS leverage to impose itself" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 2/12).