Well, the slopestyle finals were everything we could have asked for really. It was a bluebird day in Russia, both Brits made it through, and the standard was as high as anything we’ve ever seen. It wasn’t without drama, too.
Sage Kotsenburg was the (perhaps unlikely) winner on the day, with super-stylish and creative tricks that the judges clearly favoured over the usual uber-tech backside triple cork show. He was stoked just to be there, it seemed, but that went to another level when Max Parrot‘s score came in and the gold was his:
WOW!! I just won the Olympics!! Bringing back the first Gold here to the USA! Love seeing all the support from everyone YOU RULE!!
— sage kotsenburg (@sagekotsenburg) February 8, 2014
Speaking of the judging, it’s coming under heavy fire from some corners, who questioned the consistency and were downright baffled when Parrot was placed 5th. A typical reaction was this one, seemingly given the thumbs-up from Spencer O’Brien – who, like Parrot, is Canadian:
And here’s X Games commentator Sal Masekela, who thought Mark McMorris‘ score was unduly harsh and wasn’t afraid to let the world know. Maybe he’s got a point; McLovin was given a score of 89 in the qualifiers, and after stepping it up with two triple corks in his final run he was given just 88.75:
— Sal Masekela (@SalMasekela) February 6, 2014
Whitelines contributor Joe Cavanagh made his feelings pretty clear on Facebook:
This issue will no doubt keep on trucking – if you’d like to give your two cents, leave a comment below. All we can say is that we agreed with BBC commentator Tim Warwood who said he was grateful not to be the one making the calls. And at the end of the day, the talk coming from the actual riders has been nothing but positive:
— Sebastien Toutant (@SebToots) February 8, 2014
— Maxence Parrot (@MaxParrot) February 8, 2014
As for Team GB, Billy Morgan couldn’t quite stick either of his runs, despite coming off the back of a massive score in the semi-finals. Still, the impossibly enthusiastic shredder was all smiles at the end, stoked with how things went:
So happy with today. Getting through was crazy. Wanted to do the best run I could and did my best. Hope I made the GB proud @TeamGB
— billy morgan (@billymorgan89) February 8, 2014
Jamie Nicholls landed a blisteringly good first run featuring both a cab 1440 AND a backside triple cork 1440. It was enough to keep him in the medals after his first go, before he got knocked down to 6th in the second. It’s still an awesome result, and one that earned him (and Billy) at least one new high-profile fan. First Shaun White, now Muzza?!:
Jamie Nicholls just smashed it! Any chance of 2 medals here? — Andy Murray (@andy_murray) February 8, 2014
Torah Bright, the current Olympic champion and a definite contender for tomorrow’s slopestyle finals, weighed in on Instagram:
She was no doubt loving the fact that Sage invited McMorris and silver medallist Stale Sandbech onto the top step of the podium for an embrace. Jon Weaver was the same; as Nike Snowboarding’s team manager, he was clearly over the moon to see Sage take the gold – but his focus after the games showed that, for him, it wasn’t just about his boy doing well:
Tristan, our man on the ground in Sochi, has been speaking to some of the powers-that-be in British snowsports out there. He says they all have “a massive raging hard-on” for snowboarding right now. That can only be good news for future funding, surely?
Finally, former Olympian Todd Richards had a lot to say on the result, so it’s worth checking out his Twitter feed. We’ll end this with one of his musings, that sums up his feelings pretty succinctly:
This is one of the best days for snowboarding ever.
— toddrichards (@btoddrichards) February 8, 2014