Posted by: Paul | February 16, 2010

Boarder Cross

The Winter Olympics are in full swing in Vancouver. Well, as full swing as you can get when there’s no snow and a bunch of spectators for the men’s Snowboard Cross were told not to turn up as the snowbank the seating was supposed to be supported by, well…just isn’t there.

Never fear, those clever Canadians have simply stockpiled enough snow from other mountains (up to 100km away) to make sure that the relevant courses have enough and the events can go ahead. Not very environmentally friendly for such an eco-conscious nation and city though, is it? Shipping snow in by truck?

Anyway, I hadn’t seen that much of the Games until last night. Being British, why would I? We’re expecting just 3 medals. Maximum 5, which would be seen as a huge success. Though perhaps the recent heavy snowfalls will inspire a generation of new kids, who will grow up with a changing climate, to take up winter sports. That’s the rich white kids whose parents can afford a chalet in Meribel every February :-/

Class divisions aside, I started watching the above spectatorless event last night. I think it was merely the trackside spectators who were missing as there were an awful lot of Canadians at the bottom of the course, cheering their men on. And good grief, if Snowboard Cross is not actually really exciting and entertaining and I’m still watching 90 mins later, desperate for a wee since I haven’t been able to leave the sofa for the adrenaline! There were crashes, collisions, pushes, shoves, jumps, stunts, falls and a lot of exciting close finishes. They even have a cute endgame called the “small final” for the riders to sort places 5-8 (even if it’s just a cover to allow the real finalists to catch the chair back to the top of the course, and an excuse to call the real final the “BIG Final”). The top 8 riders end up doing 6 runs in total including qualifying – looks tough but must be immense fun. In the end it was unfortunately won by chippy and slightly arrogant American Seth Wescott, who pipped Canadian hope Mike Robertson on the last corner. Will be watching the women’s version today when we have a competitor, Zoe Gillings, who is a contender for a medal!

What a job, eh, professional snowboarder? Now what did I do with my salopettes…


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