Blustery conditions in Pyeongchang whip up controversy
Athletes question decision to stage slopestyle final amid safety concerns
By Amy Cleveland, CBC Sports
The weather in Pyeongchang, South Korea, was frightful for Olympic athletes on Day 3 of competition.
After the women's snowboard slopestyle qualification runs were cancelled on Sunday due to high winds, officials gave the go-ahead for Monday's medal competition.
It wasn't a popular decision among many of the snowboarders, who were delayed about an hour before getting blown off course — 20 of the 25 women fell on their first run, which raised questions about the event's safety.
Canadian Spencer O'Brien, who finished 22nd, made her disappointment known about the decision to allow riders to compete on a day where winds gusted up to 70 km/h in some areas (although winds were not as strong at Phoenix Snow Park).
"I'm just pretty disappointed with the organizers to make us ride in these conditions," O'Brien told CBC Sports. "When our safety [is] involved, the riders need to have a say.
"We do a really dangerous sport and this was really not a showcase of what these women can do."
O'Brien's assessment may have been accurate, as some athletes detailed their serious — and in one case competition-ending — injuries sustained during practice.
German snowboarder Silvia Mittermüller managed a 26th-place finish despite competing on a torn meniscus.
They sent us with delay. Last practice run I got a wind gust, came short and hurt my knee. I tried with all my heart, despite the bad situation of being sick and having wind. Was it the right choice? I don’t know. 😪