Winter Olympics and Cold, Cold Hearts

Over 300 people complained about the BBC TV commentary of Team GB’s first Olympic Gold medal on snow.  Yes, you read that right, a British woman (snowboarding legend Jenny Jones no less) makes history and some people find something to complain about.  It’s hard not to judge these people, or at the very least jump to some ill informed stereotype about the type of people who would complain about something being broadcast on a TV channel (presumably the only channel they can receive on their tele-box, otherwise they would have switched to a different one). 

The complainant’s mindset aside, I can only assume they made a special effort to get out of bed at quarter past 9 on Sunday morning just to enjoy a sedate morning’s slopestyle and were appalled by the lack of “decorum” (a word I read in a newspaper report of the complaints). 

Ok so it’s confession time, I am a terrible snowboarder I am just about capable of riding to the bottom of the most simple of green runs without dying, but I am nonetheless a snowboarder, as oppose to a skier, or a moaner.  It’s not that I am per se terrible at athletic pursuits (I’ve played rugby, football, cricket and hockey all pretty averagely but with the odd flash of success) it’s more that riding a snowboard is one of the most unnatural actions one can perform, it’s essentially controlled falling and that’s when your board is contact with the snow!  Frankly anyone who can survive a 635 metre course with a 151 metre change of altitude and that includes 3 jumps and 3 rail sections deserves a medal.  This particular slopestyle course has been criticised by competitors for the size of its jumps and Charles Guildemont the American leader of the snowboarder’s union compared them to “dropping out of the sky”!  The course was altered a week before competition but not before it had claimed the collarbone of Men’s favourite Torstein Horgmo and caused 2 time snowboard halfpipe Gold medallist Shaun White to withdraw, even since the course was changed it has caused casualties as Canadian freeskier Yuki Tsubota was stretchered off the course after taking a hefty fall in the Women’s slopestyle competition today.

All 3 of the BBC’s commentary team on Sunday are elite snowboarders and 2 of them are former British Champions, like bronze medallist Jenny Jones, the 3rd member of the team is Aimee Fuller who happens to be Jones’ best friend, so they’d all be rightly emotional to see a home team competitor finish their run in 1 piece, let alone win a medal.  It’s hard to disagree with the people who didn’t approve of them cheering when Austrian competitor Anna Gasser slipped during her final run, but come on people the fact that the each rider just gets 2 runs instead of the “jam style” competition that is seen at the X-Games means pressure get’s to everyone, if you can’t enjoy Britain’s first medal on snow then maybe you should turn off the TV.

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