Weather cancels Olympic snowboard qualifiers

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 11, 2014 at 5:39 pm •  Published: January 11, 2014
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BRECKENRIDGE, Colo. (AP) — Snowboarder Jamie Anderson held nothing back in a slopestyle qualifying run earlier in the week. She did the same arguing that the performance should count Saturday.

Race officials at the U.S. Grand Prix decided to cancel the snowboard halfpipe and slopestyle finals because of deteriorating snow conditions and dangerously high wind. Anderson and some of the other riders in the field were hoping that qualifying runs would be taken into consideration to determine places and, along with it, points toward making the Olympic team. But the jury decided that those runs wouldn't be used.

The verdict doesn't exactly help Shaun White, either. Had officials decided to consider the qualifying runs in halfpipe and slopestyle, it would've bolstered White's case in making the squad for the Sochi Games in both events. White was solid in each qualifying event.

That leaves two more competitions next week in Mammoth, Calif., for U.S. athletes to secure a spot on the Olympic squad. Some of the riders were upset about the news that qualifying wouldn't count, saying they planned to protest. Anderson, who qualified first and could have secured her spot on the team had the preliminary results stood, was quite agitated.

"Everyone had the same conditions to deal with. It's fair," Anderson said. "That's just a part of snowboarding and nature — it's not always going to be perfect. You have to make do with what you can.

"I don't think they (officials) made a great choice."

The day before, heavy snow forced the cancellation of the skiing slopestyle event and the qualifying marks became the official results in accordance to the International Ski Federation's Freestyle rules. But FIS technical delegate Jim Sidorchuk said there are different rules governing snowboarding events.

"Considerations are taken on every aspect of the competition and competitors and situations," he said.

High wind was the culprit for the cancellation. Bill Van Gilder, the technical adviser for the event, estimated the wind was blowing consistently at 30 to 40 mph, with gusts of up to 70 mph. The wind also eroded away the snow inside the halfpipe.

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