Snowboard | Australian Olympic Committee
 

Australia and Olympic Snowboard

Australia was represented at the Winter Olympics by Zeke Steggall when snowboarding made its debut at Nagano 1998. Competing in the giant slalom he placed 28th from a field of 34. Zeke went on to represent Australia at Salt Lake 2002, achieving a place of 26th in parallel giant slalom.

At Torino 2006 Australia greatly increased its snowboard contingent, taking nine athletes. Torah Bright, Holly Crawford, Johanna Shaw and Emily Thomas became Australia's first Olympic female representatives with Torah the best placed finishing fifth in the halfpipe. Damon Hayler was the best placed male, finishing seventh in the snowboard cross.

Vancouver 2010 was Australia’s most successful Winter Olympics and Torah won Australia’s first snowboard medal – gold in the women’s halfpipe. The girl from Cooma qualified for the final in first place but crashed out in her first run, posting the lowest first run score of all finalists (5.9 points). Torah was forced to face the pipe first in the second run but produced a crisp run with five near-perfect trick executions, earning her a huge score of 45.00 that no other rider could match.

At the Sochi 2014 Torah again secured a medal for Australia. At the age of 27 she secured the silver medal in the women's halfpipe, just 0.25 points behind 24-year-old Kaitlyn Farrington (USA) who won gold. Torah also became the first competitor to compete in three snowboard events at the same Games, taking on the slopestyle and snowboard cross in addition to the halfpipe.

At the PyeongChang 2018 Games, the battle of the pipe was on again with 2017 World Champion Scotty James looking to take on American legend Shaun White. Scotty came away with the bronze medal for Australia with a top score of 92.00 in the final, with White's untouchable 97.75 claiming gold and Japan's Ayumu Hirano finishing with silver.

In the snowboard cross at PyeongChang 2018, Jarryd Hughes secured Australia an additional medal as he won silver at his second Olympics. Jarryd came flying out of the start gate in the Olympic final and managed to hold on to second place despite many athletes crashing, earning Australia's first ever medal in snowboard cross.

Olympic History

Snowboarding dates back to 1960s America, when people sought new winter activities. It's thought the sport was first contested in 1968 when an engineer from Michigan stuck two skis together and attached a rope at one end for his kids to glide downhill.

In the late 1970s snowboarders started to 'invade' traditional ski resorts, but faced opposition from skiers who tried to exclude the snowboarders from 'their' mountains. By the 1990s, however, almost all ski resorts had accepted snowboarding.

The Winter Olympic debut for snowboarding came at the Nagano Games in 1998, where men's and women's events were contested in the giant slalom and halfpipe. At the 2002 Games in Salt Lake City, parallel giant slalom and halfpipe were added to the programme. Snowboard cross made its debut at Turin 2006, with slopestyle and parallel slalom added in 2014. Big Air made its debut at PyeongChang 2018, and mixed team snowboard cross will be the latest event to join the Olympic snowboard schedule at Beijing 2022.

Sport Format

Male and female athletes will compete in all competition formats. The halfpipe, slopestyle and big air competitions are judged events. Athletes are scored by a panel of judges who assess riders based on the difficulty of their tricks, execution of the run, scale of techniques used and landing of the jumps.

The snowboard cross, parallel giant slalom and mixed team snowboard cross events are all races.

Genting Snow Park in Chongli will host every snowboard event apart from the big air, which takes place at Shougang Park.

Halfpipe

One competitor at a time performs a routine of acrobatic jumps, flips, twists and other manoeuvres on a halfpipe. The athletes are judged on their take-offs, the height they reach above the top of the pipe, the difficulty and execution of their tricks.

Two qualification runs will be held and the athlete’s best score from either round will be used to shortlist the finalists. Qualification scores do not carry over to the final round.

Each competitor in the final phase gets three runs and each athlete’s top score from their best run in the final phase determines their placing and medals.

Men’s and women’s qualifying gets underway on Wednesday 9 February. The women’s final runs can be seen on Thursday 10 February and the men’s final runs on Friday 11 February.

Snowboard Cross

Snowboard cross is a fast and furious event which features manoeuvres down a challenging course with jumps and obstacles.

The competition consists of a seeding phase and finals. The seeding phase consists of timed runs to populate the final brackets.

The following formats can be used:

1. Best of two runs.
2. Best of two runs with half the field directly qualified for the final phase after the first run.
3. One run.

The finals (1/8 finals, quarter-finals, semi-finals, big and small final) are divided into heats of up to four competitors based on the seeding results. Up to and including the semi-finals, the top two competitors from each heat advance to the next phase.

Catch the women’s snowboard cross on Wednesday 9 February and the men’s snowboard cross on Thursday 10 February.

Big Air

The snowboard discipline of 'big air' made its debut at the PyeongChang 2018. There are two phases of the competition – qualification and final.

Results from each phase are determined by the best of two runs, or the best of three runs. Scores do not carry over from qualification to the final.

Big air is split across two days with qualifying held on Monday 14 February and finals on Tuesday 15 February.

Parallel Giant Slalom

The parallel slalom involves two riders racing down the same slope on two parallel courses, outlined with gates and triangular flags, blue on the left course and red on the right course.

After one qualifying run and an elimination run, in which the athletes are striving for their best time as opposed to winning the race, a 16-person head-to-head knockout competition is established.

Each head-to-head knockout race will consist of one run down the course and whoever crosses the finish line first advances to the next round. The racer with the better qualification time can choose either the red course or the blue course.

Finals consist of 1/8 finals, quarter-finals, semi-finals, consolation rounds 5th–8th, a small final (for the bronze medal) and a big final (for the gold and silver medals).

Competition begins on Tuesday 8 February in a session with a qualification run and an elimination run. They continue later in the day with the 1/8 finals, quarter-finals, semi-finals, small final and big final.

Slopestyle

Slopestyle courses feature rails, jibs, hips and a variety of jumps allowing skiers to combine big air and technical tricks into one run. Competitors are evaluated on their execution, difficulty of line, landing and use of the course.

There are two phases of the competition – qualification and final. All riders get one or two runs each in qualifying, with the score from their best run counted. Those progressing to the final get three runs each, with only their top score used. Qualifying scores do not carry to the final.

Women’s qualifying starts the snowboard schedule at Beijing 2022 on Saturday 5 February. The final will follow on Sunday 6 February, with the men also in action on Sunday for their qualifying and final.

Mixed Team Snowboard Cross

The mixed team event is a two-competitor-per-team relay with a male and female athlete. The male athletes race first, with the women leaving the start gate on the respective time margin that the men crossed the finish line.

The competition consists of a finals phase only. The finals (quarter-finals, semi-finals, big and small final) are divided into heats of up to four teams.

All the action is scheduled for 16 teams on Saturday 12 February, beginning with the quarter-finals. The semi-finals, small final and big final follow in quick succession. The big final is the only medal event.

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