Sport in the Spotlight: Snowboarding

Sport in the Spotlight: Snowboarding

04 February 2018 / 09:45

The newest sport at the Olympic Winter Games, snowboarding first appeared as a medal sport at Nagano 1998 – where riders fought it out for just two gold medals in halfpipe and giant slalom.

There are now five disciplines contested, with big air, slopestyle and snowboard cross added to the existing halfpipe and parallel giant slalom events.

America are the dominant snowboarding nation and, in Shaun White and Seth Wescott, they have two of the three most successful athletes in Olympic history.

Philipp Schoch of Switzerland is the other athlete to have won double gold. Team GB’s first Olympic Winter Games medal on snow came in snowboarding at Sochi 2014 where Jenny Jones took bronze in the slopestyle.

The Schedule

February 10

Men’s slopestyle qualification – 10:00-14:30 (UK Time 01:00-05:30)

February 11

Men’s slopestyle final 10:00-11:45 (UK Time 01:00-02:45)

Women’s slopestyle qualification 13:30-15:35 (UK Time 04:30-06:35)

February 12

Women’s slopestyle final 10:00-11:45 (UK Time 01:00-02:45)

Women’s halfpipe qualification 13:30-14:50 (UK Time 04:30-05:50)

February 13

Women’s halfpipe final 10:00-11:00 (UK Time 01:00-02:00)

Men’s halfpipe qualification 13:00-14:50 (UK Time 04:00-05:50)

February 14

Men’s halfpipe final – 10:30-12:10 (UK Time 01:30-03:10)

February 15

Men’s snowboard cross seeding round – 11:00-12:35 (UK Time 02:00-03:35)

Men’s snowboard cross finals – 13:30-15:00 (UK Time 04:30-06:00)

February 16

Women’s snowboard cross seeding round – 10:00-11:25 (UK Time 01:00-02:25)

Women’s snowboard cross finals – 12:15-13:15 (UK Time 03:15-04:15)

February 19

Women’s big air qualifications – 9:30-12:25 (UK Time 00:30-03:25)

February 21

Men’s big air qualifications – 9:30-12:45 (UK Time 00:30-03:45)

February 22

Men’s and women’s parallel giant slalom qualifications – 12:00-13:50 (UK Time 03:00-04:50)

February 23

Women’s big air final – 9:30-11:15 (UK Time 00:30-02:15)

February 24

Men’s big air final – 10:00-11:45 (UK Time 01:00-02:45)

Men’s and women’s parallel giant slalom finals – 12:00-13:00 (UK Time 03:00-04:00)

How Team GB has fared in the past

Until Sochi 2014, Team GB had never won a medal on snow. But that all changed when Jenny Jones took bronze in the inaugural Olympic women’s slopestyle event.

Away from the Park and Pipe disciplines, Zoe Gillings-Brier has competed at three previous Olympic Winter Games – with a best result of eighth, at Vancouver 2010.

Britwatch

Katie Ormerod

After becoming British big air and slopestyle champion in 2012, Katie Ormerod has established herself as a star of the UK snowboarding scene.

The former county gymnast became the youngest girl to land a double backflip on a snowboard at the age of 15 and at 16 did the world’s first backside double cork 1080.

Ormerod achieved big air World Cup podium finishes in Canada, Korea and Germany in 2016, the same year she won X Games slopestyle bronze, before also claiming her first gold in the big air World Cup event in Russia in 2017.

She began the Olympic season with big air silver in Milan and was subsequently selected for her maiden Olympic Winter Games experience.

Billy Morgan

From starting on the dry slopes aged 14 to appearing at Sochi 2014, Billy Morgan’s rise up the snowboarding ranks has been impressive.

Morgan began his sporting career as an acrobatic gymnast, but switched to snowboarding. The Brit landed the world’s first triple rodeo flip in December 2011, then in April 2015, he again made history by becoming the world’s first rider to land a 1800 quadruple cork.

Morgan finished tenth in the men’s slopestyle final at Sochi 2014, having already sealed his first World Cup podium when he took bronze in Sierra Nevada the year before. In 2017, he achieved two further World Cup podium finishes, picking up bronze in both.

Jamie Nicholls

Jamie Nicholls became the first British male snowboarder to win a World Cup event when he topped the podium in the Czech Republic in 2016.

The Bradford-born athlete took up the sport aged seven at Halifax Ski and Snowboard centre, but by the age of 13 he was already considered one of the best UK snowboarders.

At Sochi 2014, Nicholls qualified directly for the final where he finished sixth overall.

In 2017, Nicholls claimed two more World Cup medals, winning bronze in the Czech Republic and silver in Italy – leading to selection for his second Olympic Winter Games.

Zoe Gillings-Brier

From the Isle of Man, Zoe Gillings-Brier competed in the British Snowboarding Championships at just ten years of age.

In 2005, an injury left Gillings-Brier with all the mid bones in her left foot shattered, causing doctors to tell her she would be lucky to walk again, let alone snowboard.

Despite that, she made her Olympic debut in the first ever women’s snowboard cross just eight months later, finishing 15th at Turin 2006, before also competing at the 2010 and 2014 Games, finishing eighth and ninth respectively.

Since Sochi, Gillings-Brier has got married and had her first child, Lea, but returned to the snow and qualified for her fourth Olympic Winter Games.

Who is the competition?

Chloe Kim

A double Youth Olympic champion in both the halfpipe and slopestyle from 2016, the American teenager also has four Winter X-Games titles to her name in the superpipe.

A two-time winner on the World Cup halfpipe circuit already this season, Kim will certainly be one to keep an eye out for in PyeongChang.

Shaun White

What is there to say about this man that hasn’t already been said?

Two Olympic gold medals, 13 Winter X-Games titles – not forgetting two in the summer version – White is a bona fide legend in the snowboarding world.

Having missed out on the halfpipe title four years ago, he laid down a perfect 100 run just last month in order to qualify for PyeongChang, showing he is not done just yet.

Anna Gasser

The Austrian will be out to lay her Olympic ghosts to rest in PyeongChang having fallen twice in the Sochi 2014 slopestyle final – after qualifying first.

The reigning big air world champion, Anna Gasser has a shot at two gold medals should she choose to compete in both the slopestyle and big air.

Ayumu Hirano

The Japanese teenager almost made history at Sochi 2014 by winning the halfpipe title.

He had to settle for silver in the end but has just won the Winter X-Games superpipe title to show is he coming into form at just the right time – and still only at the age of 19.

Sportsbeat 2018 

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