Well, it’s official – after years of debate and hand-wringing, slopestyle will make its Olympic debut in the Sochi 2014 games. It’s been on the cards for a while, and in the last six months or so has seemed almost inevitable. Now, after a meeting of the International Olympic Committee in South Africa, pen has been put to paper and the preparations have begun.
The move has been discussed ever since halfpipe took its place at the Olympics in 1998. While slopestyle is maybe less ‘Olympic’ and less straightforward than the halfpipe, it’s easily the most popular form of snowboard competition in the world and, some say, the best indicator of a rider’s all-round talent. The likes of Chas Guldemond, Jamie Anderson, Seb Toots and Silje Norendal are unlikely to pass up the chance of Olympic gold in the discipline they dominate, and Shaun White has declared an interest in being the first double Olympic snowboard champion.
So what now? Perhaps the UK Sport committee will now feel sheepish for their questionable decision to axe the relatively small fund that was allocated to British snowboarding. Perhaps, with Ben Kilner, Jenny Jones and Jamie Nicholls, we’ll see a strong Brit prescence in both the major snowboard events in 2014. Or maybe (and we really hope not), a rushed and cack-handed attempt to snare more of the ‘youth market’ will turn the event into a farce. Whichever way you look at it, there’ll be interesting times ahead. We’ve still not heard what Terje thinks – stay tuned….