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Winter Olympics: Women’s slopestyle final ‘too dangerous’ after winds cause havoc

The conditions for the women’s slopestyle Olympic final were described as “too dangerous” after strong winds caused havoc in Pyeongchang.

Defending champion Jamie Anderson of the United States won gold but all of the riders fell on at least one run.

Bronze medallist Enni Rukajarvi said: “It was pretty bad. I’m happy to land my run and get a good score but I’m most happy that no one got hurt bad.”

Britain’s Aimee Fuller came 17th and had a heavy crash on her second run.

The event sees riders perform tricks on a series of man-made jumps, rails and boxes with a panel of judges scoring each run.

Rukajarvi added: “The weather was bad and too dangerous, and I got a lot of wind in my run, so that was bad, too.”

When asked whether organisers made the right call to hold the final, she said: “It wasn’t. It was better in the practice, but then it got really bad, so they should have cancelled it, or moved it.”

‘Unfair competition’
Austria’s Anna Gasser started the event as one of the medal contenders, but crashed on both runs and only managed 15th.

“I don’t think it was a fair competition and I’m a little disappointed in the organisation that they pulled through with it,” she said of the final at the Phoenix Snow Park.

“From my point of view I think it was not a good show for women’s snowboarding.”

The International Olympic Committee maintained that the safety of athletes was the organisers “number one priority”.

“The competition is run by the International Ski Federation,” spokesman Mark Adams added. “They know their athletes and they know the conditions they work in.”

On Sunday, the men’s downhill and the women’s slopestyle qualification were postponed because of high winds, and on Monday the same fate befell the women’s giant slalom.

Asked if the delays might cause the Games to be extended, Adams said: “It’s a bit early to discuss that. Nagano had the downhill five minutes before the closing ceremony, but it’s a touch premature at this stage.”

‘The wind ripped me sideways’
Fuller described the conditions in the slopestyle final as the “roughest” she had competed in, adding that it was like “riding into a wind tunnel”.

“On the second run I got my speed right but once I was in the air it felt like I had a sail boat under my board,” the 26-year-old said.

“The wind ripped me sideways and there was not a chance I was going to land.”

Fuller also said it was a “tough question” whether the event should have gone ahead.

“At the end of the day it was the Olympic final and everyone wanted to ride,” she said.

“If you were lucky with the wind there were calm windows but the majority was super inconsistent.

“I don’t think it was a a true reflection of women’s slopestyle which is a shame for our sport.”

The Briton has another chance to win a medal when she competes in the women’s big air competition, which begins next Monday.
(BBC)

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