Posts Tagged ‘snowboard cross’
I am now an authority on snowboard cross. Yesterday’s women’s competition was an exercise in not falling over, a discipline which seemed beyond most participants. It came across from Vancouver like an extended sequence from You’ve Been Framed. My favourite entry was the wretched woman whose Olympic dreams evaporated when she failed to leap off with enough momentum to slide up the first incline and ended up hopping off the course seconds after she had started. Because of the binding onto the board, any competitor with the misfortune of slipping over is compelled to jump along with the same deranged motion as a sack race entrant.
One of the more dramatic of these incidents involved Lindsey Jacobellis, who lost her bearings on the way down and succeeded in obliterating one of the control gates. The race organisers take a dim view of this, those gates cost a lot to replace after all, and she was disqualified. Jacobellis was one of the pre-race favourites, but her previous Olympic form may have been a reason to put your pocket money elsewhere:
So Jacobellis fell within metres of the gold medal because she was attempting what is known in the trade as a grab or as I like to call it, showing off. In the immediate aftermath Jacobellis claimed that she performed the manoeuvre in order to gain balance. Which is a little bit like a drunkard explaining that he drove his car home to avoid the dangers of the bus.
Subsequently, Jacobellis revised her opinion and admitted that “snowboarding is fun; I was having fun.” Which would be quite admirable, except I can’t imagine being asked the same question about her erratic showboating ever since is all that fun.
I have to be suspicious of a sport that compels its onlookers to amuse themselves by repeatedly ringing cowbells. Skiing offers the same spectacle as Formula 1: things zooming past very quickly at regular intervals. At least with motor racing there is sometimes overtaking; skiing is just one long qualifying session, a battle against the clock (who isn’t the most charismatic of opponents).
Snowboard cross is a different species of winter sport. It’s mental. Competitors line up at the starting gate in different-coloured bibs like starving greyhounds, leaping down the track with the rabid enthusiasm of shoppers on the first day of the Primark sale. If they weren’t so busy trying to keep balance they’d punching each other and gouging each other’s eyes out. The course is set out in fiendish tiers so it resembles a massive wedding cake.
Last night the men’s event was won by defending champ American Seth Wescott. He’s a typically rad snowboarder, whose special snowpants have been mocked up to look like a particularly gnarly pair of jeans. Wescott left the sport after the last Olympics to set up his own restaurant in the mountains of Maine. I’ve checked out the menu online – it looks pretty gnarly too.
Tonight is the women’s event and there’s an actual British lady with an actual medal chance. Zoe Gilling hails from the Isle of Man. Hope there’s a Primark there.