Strong Winds Wreak Havoc Again In PyeongChang Winter Olympics

Strong Winds Wreak Havoc Again In PyeongChang Winter Olympics
  • PublishedFebruary 12, 2018

Aimee Fuller’s hopes of winning a slope style medal were dasged on Monday but at least her body wasn’t shattered. On a day when the organisers here were accused of putting athletes in the danger of  in high winds, that was the only relief.

It bordered on a farce at times in the mountains of Pyeongchang as one rider after another in the final suffered devastating falls in gusts of 30mph.

For Fuller, the scare came as she flew the height of a house off the final jump of her second run and lost control in the wind, causing her to hit the deck hard before sliding down the slope on her back.

The Brit thankfully got to her feet and was left to juggle the disappointment of a 17th-placed finish with the bewilderment that the event was allowed to go ahead at all.

Indeed, there was a common sense of shock among the 26 finalists over why the discipline was not rescheduled, supported by a staggering statistic that of their combined 52 runs, 43 ended with a fall, including at least one for each rider.

Jennie Jones, Britain’s snowboard medallist from Sochi 2014, was vocal in questioning the safety of allowing the final to go ahead. She said: ‘Why didn’t someone say, “Let’s postpone this?” In my mind I would have liked it to be postponed.

‘It is not (meant to be) safe because it is an extreme sport – you are flying off a 70ft kicker. But it is (a question of) how much is it unsafe, and I think some of them were very upset that it went ahead. Luckily no one was badly injured.’

Fuller had reached the final by virtue of Sunday’s qualifying session being cancelled due to the wind. Her first run saw her skip a jump after losing her speed in a strong headwind and the second was progressing well until she was hit by a huge gust in mid-flight.


‘For sure it was not what I dreamed of for my Olympic final, but it is what it is and I’m lucky to be in one piece right now,’ she said. ‘I’m happy to see everyone’s in one piece.

‘It’s definitely not been the best display of snowboarding slopestyle, which is a real shame.

‘On my first run it felt like I was riding into this giant wind funnel. It is the final, but you’ve got to think about your welfare as well so I held back from a jump.

The International Olympic Committee were forced to defend their decision to run the event

‘On the second run there was a gust that took me sideways. My board literally just felt like a parasail. It just ripped my board from under my feet.’

Defending champion Jamie Anderson of the US won gold.

The International Olympic Committee were forced to defend their decision to run the event, with a spokesman saying: ‘The competition is run by the International Ski Federation. They know their athletes and they know the conditions they work in. The safety of the athletes is the number one priority.’

The weather issues also saw the women’s giant slalom postponed on Monday – a day after the same happened to the men’s downhill. A potential scheduling crisis is looming with poor forecasts up until Thursday.





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