Olympic men’s halfpipe finals – the reaction

The Olympic men’s halfpipe final has only just finished, and we still can’t believe what went down. Neither, it seems, can anyone else.

The high drama started even before the day of the event arrived, with reports that the halfpipe was “garbage”. This carried on into today, and soon the internet was awash with people’s verdicts on Slushchi. Todd Richards, always happy to put his feelings in plain English (and in less than 140 characters), summed it up eloquently:


Things did seem to improve, and the rumours of massive delays and cancellations proved unfounded. however, the damage had been done, and a lot of people were laying the blame at the door of the FIS, controversially in charge of Olympic snowboarding since its inception in the mid-90s. Gretchen Bleiler, the Turin silver medallist who battled back from injury but didn’t earn a place at these games, linked to a news article that called for a boycott:


Even Terje Haakonsen, the figurehead of snowboarding’s anti-Olympic movement, weighed in again:


Louie Vito, another American who just missed the cut, was left wondering ‘What If’?:


On to the event itself. For a sporting contest, this had everything. The dominant champion, looking to continue his reign; the rival, “always a bridesmaid” but capable of besting anyone on his day; the young pretender, looking to take his place at the top of the tree; and the soul shredder, hoping to “do a Sage” and keep style at the fore of snowboard contests. There was also the possibility of seeing halfpipe history being made:


We’re sure it’s taken years off our lives here at Whitelines HQ, with all the heart palpitations and near-nervous breakdowns (and you can read all about what brought them on here). From the looks of our social media fields, we weren’t the only ones – Billy Morgan, Mark McMorris, Jamie Anderson and JJ Thomas were among those taking to the internet: 


Of course, Iouri Potlatchikov is your new Olympic champion, and when he secured the gold it wasn’t long before the props came flooding in:


Speaking after the event, Ed Leigh was full of praise for the Swiss rider’s dedication:

He has worked tirelessly in the face of constant defeat, working to build a trick repertoire that can beat Shaun White. And he’s been stymied every time. But he put his foot absolutely to the floor.

iPod was sitting pretty after nailing his second run but, with El Blanco still to drop, Aimee Fuller gave us what appeared to be Team GB’s official line:


However, Jenny Jones only had eyes for young Ayumu Hirano, the silver medallist:


The Assassin seemed to break the understood laws of physics with both his insane amplitude, and his ability to hold on to seemingly unrecoverable landings. Terje felt he should have got the gold:


Craig McMorris, brother (and MTV reality TV show co-star) of Mark, kept it short but sweet in his support for Ayumu.


One thing was for sure; the young Japanese had finally found a run that put him ahead of Shaun in a head-to-head:


And there were obviously some who were happy to finally see the Artist Formerly Known As The Flying Tomato get trumped, at last:


Danny Davis, aka The Dude, was carrying the torch for style and creativity, and was also riding the wave of X Games glory. On the day he didn’t get it together on either of his runs, but slopestyle champion Sage Kotsenburg was – somewhat predictably and very, very awesomely – in his corner:


Former X Games pipe champion Steve Fisher shared his sentiments:


For the final word on today’s proceedings, we turn once again to Todd Richards:

Click to enlarge.


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