Events are added and taken away with every Olympic Games. But there is something different about the newly added slopestyle at the 2014 Winter Olympics. Slopestyle was added as both a snowboard and ski competition this year and the Americans are clearly in the lead with two gold medals as of Feb 9. And with good reason. Slopestyle snowboarding was invented in the U.S. It is a lot like another American invention, jazz. There is more improvisation involved than in other downhill sports. That, of course, is in keeping with the U.S. attitude of risking everything and thinking out of the box.
This attitude was very apparent during the post-competition press conference when Sage Kotsenburg, the Gold Medal winner was answering questions. The 20 year old, born in Idaho, was handling questions in his own very casual style, much like his snowboarding. Even if he was not as eloquent as other athletes in other more traditional events, his love and passion for the sport and his admiration of his fellow competitors was apparent.
Sports like slope style also present a difficult problem in judging. How do you judge a sport so dependent on individual style, rather than degree of difficulty? It is a question that Olympic judges are still wrangling with even after the completion has started. It’s a question that is not likely to have an easy resolution. But it is good to know that the U.S. can shake up such a stoic organization as the International Olympic Committee.