Pyeongchang 2018: Cancellations and dangerous women’s slopestyle final cast doubts on Korean city’s ability to host the Winter Olympics.

Four years ago Sochi came under criticism for being too warm to host the Winter Olympics. Beijing, who have been awarded the 2022 games, has come under similar scrutiny. So hosting the games in Pyeongchang, where it falls to sub-zero temperatures, should be more suitable, shouldn’t it?

Well so far the decision to finally hand the games over to the Korean city after two previous failed attempts has cast doubts in people’s minds.

Both the men’s downhill and women’s slopestyle qualification were postponed on Sunday, as well as the women’s giant slalom today, all due to high winds.

It therefore came as a shock to many when the women’s slopestyle final, which took place this morning, didn’t befall to a similar fate.

All the riders fell at least once, as the winds once again wrecked havoc at Phoenix snow park.

Great Britain’s Aimee Fuller came 17th, whilst Austrian Anna Gasser – one of the favourites to finish in the medal positions – could only manage a 15th place finish.

USA’S Jamie Anderson went on to defend her Olympic title from four years ago, but many felt the competition was unfair and dangerous.

Bronze medallist Enni Rukajarvi told the BBC: “It was pretty bad. I’m happy to land my run and get a good score but I’m most happy that no one got hurt bad.

“I don’t think it was a fair competition and I’m a little disappointed in the organisation that they pulled through with it,” Grasser added.

“I think it was not a good show for women’s snowboarding.”

Fuller also wasn’t pleased, stating that she “feared for her life at times.”

“The wind ripped me sideways and there was not a chance I was going to land,” she said.

“I don’t think this was a true reflection of women’s slopestyle which is a shame for our sport.”

With the two skiing events rescheduled for Thursday, discussions have already begun to possibly extend the games , in an attempt to restrict congestion with multiple events taking place on the same day.

For some, the decision to let extreme events like the slopestyle final take place in such harsh conditions was a shocking one by the organisers. Serious injury were a huge possibility and on hindsight it was a minor miracle everyone came away from the contest relatively unharmed.

Although some would say the criticism is unfair and unjustified. This is after all the WINTER Olympics. Athletes come from across the globe to compete against each other and attempt to overcome the conditions they are met with.

The last few editions of the games have taken place in warmer conditions, with the temperatures at the 1994 games in Lillehammer the closest to what people are experiencing in Korea. That factor may have affected athletes preparations. Training in warmer conditions may not of best placed anyone when they competing at -11 degrees.

One will hope the organisers will take the last few days in consideration when they look to elect host cities for future Winter Olympic games, although it seems nowadays that wherever the games take place, there will always be controversy.


Figure skating team event: Gold- CANADA, Silver- OAR, Bronze- USA

Women’s 10km pursuit: Gold- Laura Dahlmeier (GERMANY), Silver- Anastasiya Kuzmina (SLOVAKIA), Bronze- Anais Bescond (FRANCE)

Men’s moguls: Gold- Mikael Kingsbury (CANADA), Silver- Matt Graham (AUSTRALIA), Bronze- Daichi Hara (JAPAN)

Men’s 12.5km pursuit: Gold- Martin Fourcade (FRANCE), Silver- Sebastian Samuelsson (SWEDEN), Bronze- Benedikt Doll (GERMANY)

Women’s 1500m speed skating: Gold- Ireen Wust (NETHERLANDS), Silver- Miho Takagi (JAPAN), Bronze- Marrit Leenstra (NETHERLANDS)

Women’s normal hill ski jumping: Gold- Maren Lundby (NORWAY), Silver- Katharina Althaus (GERMANY), Bronze- Sara Takanashi (JAPAN)

Women’s slopestyle: Gold- Jamie Anderson (USA), Silver- Laurie Blouin (CANADA), Bronze- Enni Rukajarvi (FINLAND)


Nick Blackwell’s current predicament shows Boxing still needs work medically.

Tonight, while some of you tuck into an hot cross bun watching the finale of the Night Manager, spare a thought for Nick Blackwell, who is in an induced coma following last night’s middleweight title bout with Chris Eubank Jr.

The 25-year old was rushed to hospital after the fight and it’s been confirmed that he has suffered bleeding to the brain.

This proves just how far Boxing has come in the last 25 years by the way medics were able to get him checked quickly.

But more importantly, shows how far away the sport actually is from making sure boxers are safe once they don the gloves and enter the ring.

Of course going into this profession means you are going to take some pretty hard knocks, suffer a broken nose, cracked ribs, bruising and cuts to the face, but these are all injuries you can recover from.

In Blackwell’s case, a serious head injury could have more effects in the long term than in the short. Is boxing really worth that risk of long term damage?

Brain injury association Headway questions whether the sport is actually doing enough to preserve it’s talented individuals.

Chief executive Peter McCabe told BBC Sport: “At a time when responsible sports are rightly taking action to improve their concussion protocols to ensure participants are properly cared for when accidental collisions occur, it seems perverse that greater attention is not placed on so-called sports in which participants are rewarded for rendering their opponents senseless by targeting the head and causing damage to the brain.”

It’s hard to disagree. Everyone who watched the fight last night saw Eubank Jr utterly dominate Blackwell. He bloodied him after three rounds and then hit him with severe hard blowing shots in the seventh.

It was clear that the former Middleweight champion was struggling, yet the referee allowed the fight kept going until the tenth!

Did someone finally wake up and notice that if the fight continued we may have witnessed something far more tragic?

There is a video on the Daily Mail website, showing Eubank sr tell his son to stop hitting his opponent during last night’s fight.

He told his son to aim for the body because he knew Blackwell was getting hurt, but also questioned why the referee hadn’t stopped the fight earlier.

Apparently, Blackwell being in a coma is just normal procedure so that the swelling can go down, but I think it’s fair to say that no one wants to be in that position.

We all dream about being World Champion. No matter what sport we take part in. But this is a place we could also find ourselves if things go wrong.

I wonder how Eubank Jr has felt for the past 24 hours. He may be Middleweight champion, but like his father before him, he has reduced someone to needing hospital treatment. This is professional sport, not some fight to the death during the Roman Empire!

Boxing needs to look into this in more depth if it is to promote itself to the youngsters and move forward altogether.

Head guards are worn at the Olympics to stop such injury from occurring, and although it’s not the prettiest thing to be wearing, it at least offers some form of protection.

A more drastic move would be to stop over the shoulder shots altogether, but again, it would protect boxers from the possibility of long-term mental damage.

Rocky may just be a movie franchise, but the way things are going ,we may see an Apollo Creed v Ivan Drago moment, something no one involved with the sport wants to see.