Openly gay 2018 Olympics slopestyle snowboarders Cheryl Maas and Sarka Panocochova were among a chorus of competitors furious that the event was allowed to be held Monday despite dangerous winds that saw most boarders fall.
“I’m not happy about it being run,” Cheryl Maas of the Netherlands told the Washington Post. She finished 23rd. “It’s not just me. It’s everybody landing on their ass. It sucks not seeing 1080s. It was just a shitshow.”
How bad were the winds? Of the 27 competitors, only five didn’t crash on their first run and four on their second. Competitors said the winds made their boards act like giant sails. The gold medal was won by American Jamie Anderson.
“It’s a poor interpretation of snowboarding because everyone is falling and no one is making it to the landings,” said the Czech Republic’s Sarka Pancochova, who finished 16th. “This has been terrible. It sucks because the women snowboarders have gotten so much better with all the doubles and everyone sending it and doing like really great runs. It’s a bummer. You qualify for this for a very long time and then they run this and it’s like come on, guys. We are at the Olympics. You have more days. Don’t do this.”
Maas and Pancochova are two of the 14 out LGBTQ Olympians competing in Pyeongchang. Both women have competed in two previous Olympics, so their comments on the weather conditions have a historical perspective.
The International Ski Federation said in a statement that the weather conditions were “challenging” but safe. But with so many athletes unable to finish their runs, it’s easy to see why many felt it was more a matter of survival than skill.