The International Olympic Committee announced today the inclusion of men’s and women’s ski halfpipe as well as women’s ski jumping for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. While the triumph for female ski jumpers, who have now eliminated men’s ski jumping as the last male-only ski event in the games, is undoubtedly a victory, the inclusion of halpipe may only be a victory if treated properly by the IOC.
Though many top athletes such as Simon Dumont and Jen Hudak, both X-Games and World Championship halfpipe medalists, support of the move, there is one major concern. An official release states that halfpipe “athletes are judged on their take-offs, the height they reach above the top of the pipe, and difficulty of their manoeuvres [sic].” What does this mean for style? Will it become like moguls, where only certain tricks are allowed? We’re curious about the committee’s ability to judge an event–indeed, a freestyle movement–that, currently, has a lot to do with style and overall creativity.
Our hope is that the IOC will give the event its due diligence and enlist the help of knowledgeable and passionate freestyle ski veterans to help establish and judge the competition. The first instance of Olympic-sanctioned ski halfpipe will take place at the Winter Youth Olympic Games in Innsbruck in 2012, so all commentary is conjecture until we see how judging is handled at that event, but for now we remain cautiously optimistic.
Time will tell…