Ding Ding Ding Ding Ding Ding Ding
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.