As ex-pro snowboarder and US Olympic commentator Todd Richards said “I feel like I just ate a salad for dinner” after watching the Men’s Olympic Slopestyle event in Beijing, we’re all still feeling a little empty. The showdown today, finished with not only an upset winner, (Max Parrot from Canada) but pretty much the whole boarding community…pissed.
Not stoked is an understatement, pro riders and industry figureheads are openly jumping on their platforms calling to boycott the Olympics, pushing how misrepresented and disrespected snowboarding is from the FIS Federation and Olympics as a whole.
So what actually happened?
It came down to the Olympic / FIS judges missing a ‘missed grab’ on the winning run from Max Parrot where he scored a huge score of 90. And from there the comp was pretty much fucked with the judging scale thrown wide open. It was obvious, especially from the commenting that it was impossible to predict what the following runs would score.
To be fair, Max’s run when watching LIVE was HUGE. And looked clean. But on the replay he clearly missed a grab on one of the jumps. And ended up grabbing his leg to keep his momentum. A missed grab should result in a solid points deduction. So the score of 90 has everyone questioning what just went down.
Did the judges know he missed the grab? Did they still go huge because it was clearly the best run so far? Did they realise after locking in the score that they had totally messed up? Who knows, but what followed was equally confusing.
Following Max’s huge score Su Yiming of China, the top qualifier, put down the run of his life. Ryan Tiene, Australia’s official snowboard commentator for channel 7 said that that was the best jump component of a slopestyle run to ever be done in competition. Ryan was calling for a 95! Su got an 88?
Mark McMorris also slayed dragons on his second run. Nailing the top rail section followed by an incredible bottom jump section albeit with a safe final jump. His score? 80. 10 points behind Max’s missed grab.
Red Gerard from the US, who got 4th, had a huge first run only to receive an ok score of 83. The classic first run underscore.
Yeas, there was incredible riding from all athletes today. But for sure there was a judging error.
Todd Richards probably put it best, “I don’t know how in this day and age you can stand on top of podium winning a medal, fully missing a grab“.
Ryan Tiene commented more, saying “I said it in the broadcast – it’s not good for snowboarding!” And as a coach it’s not good for kids that are seeing snowboarding for the first time that this is ok. Slopestyle is what the sport is called and for the love of it we must govern what’s cool and not cool or we shall all be kooks. FYI currently teaching my own son to grab at 5 years old on the tramp and he gets called out when he misses.“
Now, this is in no way Max Parrot’s fault, he has been shafted himself at the Olympic (2014 Slopestyle). This is all on the Olympic judges.
And a sad way to end what has been insane snowboarding these games.
However, Mark McMorris doesn’t seem to phased, saying “I kind of thought gold or silver, to be honest…But I’m not going to let it get me down.” In true champion style.