OK so I know we're super-biased. I know it's probably not "cool" to be so in favour of one rider above all others. But Jamie Nicholls was robbed in today's X Games slopestyle eliminations. Absolutely robbed.
Before you shout us out of town as overly prejudiced, consider our case. Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I present to you Exhibit A.
This was Torstein Horgmo's first run, which earned the highest qualifying score. An epic 92.00.
It's pretty frickin' impressive. He drops in switch and goes cab 270, 450 off. Then switch frontside tailslide, 270 gap over the second feature.
His kickers are switch back 9, back 10 double (ish, it's a bit of a late dipper), front 10 double. He finishes things off with a nosepress and a 270 on. Everything is stomped clean, with his signature Torstein afterbang.
It's a worthy winner for sure. But it's not that different to Jamie's...
Your honour (and honourable members of the jury) I now present you with Exhibit B.
This is Jamie's second run. He stacked on his first. Like Torstein, he drops in switch. His first trick is a switch 450-on off the toes. Steezy. He then gets front blunt 270, straight into a front lip.
His second trick may not be as tech as Torstein's but he squeezes two into a combo where T-dawg only got one. Then he approaches the kickers. His first trick is identical to Torstein's - switch back 9.
Giving Jamie's run a score of 59.66, more than 30 points less than Torstein's? Now that IS ridiculous.
Jamie then stomps a back 12 (surely better than Torstein's back 10?) followed by a cab 10. (UPDATE: so we messed up a bit here, it was actually back 9 rather than back 12 although Jamie had been doing 12s on this hit in practice. Still should have scored more than a 59 tho eh?)
OK so his hand brushes the floor slightly on the cab 10, but surely not enough to take serious points off. He finishes things off neatly with a switch back board and a 270 on.
Now we're not for a second saying that Jamie should've beaten Torstein. That hand down should have counted against him a bit. And Torstein's rail section was probably more tech.
But giving Jamie's run a score of 59.66, more than 30 points less than Torstein's?
Now that is ridiculous.
Jamie clearly agreed, sending this erm... succinct tweet minutes after the score came up.
— Jamie Nicholls (@jamienichollsuk) March 21, 2013
The competition was stiff, and even if Jamie's run had been scored fairly, there's no guarantee he would have beaten the Toutants, McMorrises and Willets above him to earn a place in the finals.
But seriously, 30 points difference?
We can only think that the judges must have a residual respect for riders who put a bit of cork in their spins, marking "double corks" much higher than their flat-spin equivalents.
That would also explain why Roope Tonteri, who's run included a massive, clean cab 1440 (1440 ffs!) was also robbed of a qualification spot. But in our opinion that double cork bias is a little bit misguided. According to many riders rotating off axis isn't necessarily more technically difficult than spinning flat.
But how do you explain the discrepancies otherwise? Unless at the X Games there's just a natural prejudice towards big, famous names...
Anyway, for the record, here's the list of those who did qualify and all the scores in full. Click on the 'R' buttons to watch the rest of the runs.
|RANK||NAME||RUN 1||RUN 2||BEST|