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)


Pyeongchang 2018: Men’s luge contenders David Gleirscher and Felix Loch personified the fine line between success and failure at the Olympic Games.

The men’s luge final ended in dramatic fashion to show us all both the joy and despair that comes with competing at the Olympic Games.

David Gleirscher became the first Austrian in 50 years to win the gold medal in this event with a superb and faultless final run.

The 23-year-old, who is making his Olympic debut in Pyeongchang, has failed to end on the podium in any World Cup events leading up to the games.

Gleirscher started his final run in third place, with many predicting that leader Felix Loch would hold on to the gold.

The 28-year-old German was hoping to equal Georg Hackl’s record of winning three straight luge gold medals and looked well on course to do just that after his first three attempts.

However, after clipping the wall halfway through his final run, Loch ended up with nothing at all, finishing in fifth place. Whilst Gleirscher celebrated with his Austrian teammates, the German was inconsolable- sitting at the end of the track with his head in his hands.

Events such as the Luge can be won and lost by the slightest error. There is a fine line between success and failure. Four years of hard work and dedication can be ruined in less than a thousandth of a second as you fly down the track.

The secret to success is a simple one: Consistency. Chris Mazdzer did just that. Four clean runs resulted in him becoming the first American to win a medal in this event.

Elsewhere in the snowboarding, Red Gerard became the first Winter Olympic champion to be born this century.

The 17-year old produced a clean run in his final attempt and is now the second youngest athlete to ever win a gold medal in the Winter Olympics.


Men’s luge: Gold- David Gleirscher (AUSTRIA), Chris Mazdzer (USA), Johannes Ludwig (GERMANY)

Men’s skiathlon: Gold- Simen Hegstad Kruger (NORWAY), Silver- Martin Johnsrud Sundby (NORWAY), Bronze- Hans Christer Holund (NORWAY)

Women’s moguls: Gold- Perrine Laffont (FRANCE), Silver- Justine Dufour-Lapointe (CANADA), Bronze- Yulia Galysheva (KAZAKHSTAN)

Men’s 10km biathlon sprint: Gold- Arnd Peiffer (GERMANY), Silver- Michal Krcmar (CZECH REPUBLIC), Bronze- Dominik Windisch (ITALY)

Men’s 5,000m speed skating:  Gold- Sven Kramer (NETHERLANDS), Silver- Ted-Jan Bloemen (CANADA), Bronze- Sverre Lunde Pedersen (NORWAY)

Men’s slopestyle: Gold- Red Gerard (USA), Silver- Max Parrot (CANADA), Bronze- Mark McMorris (CANADA)

Pyeongchang 2018: Speed skating is as entertaining as it is infuriating.

Today I watched speed skating for the first time, and to be honest with you it was pretty entertaining.

Something about watching half a dozen people skate in a circle really quickly appealed to me. Perhaps it was just being in awe of these people who can not only stand on the ice, but run at up to 50kph on it! Or it could have been all the falls and photo finishes.

This is regarded as Korea’s sport. The host nation have won 42 of their 57 all-time Winter Olympic medals in short track speed skating. 12,000 spectators inside the Gangneung Ice Arena burst into euphoria whenever a home skater took to the ice. This event was the golden ticket of the games for many of the Korean people.

So it didn’t come as a surprise when Lim Hyo-jun won the host nation’s first gold of the games in the men’s 1500m. The 21-year-old led from the halfway point in the final, and soaked up all the cheer and jubilation after he crossed the line.

Elise Christie showed Great Britain exactly why she was nominated for a SPORTY last year. The 27-year-old is on the hunt for a first Olympic medal after a disappointing Sochi games four years ago where she was triple disqualified. The 27-year-old controlled her heat to progress to the quarter finals of the women’s 500m. Her sheer power saw her steer clear of the chasing pack going into the first corner as she posted a time of 42.872 seconds.

But for all it’s excitement, speed skating is also infuriating. VAR may have just been introduced into football, but it is most definitely needed here. Every race ended with a judging panel staring at a screen, watching the same replays time and time again to determine if any competitor was the culprit of any crashes during the race.

It was like a convict waiting for their verdict in a courtroom from the jury: Guilty or not guilty. Sometimes it only took a couple of minutes, other times it took up to 10.

For a sport where a race can last less than a minute, there is a lot of waiting about.

At one point, the commentators even struggled to fill the time, that goes to show that quicker decisions are needed.

I also got to glimpse parts of the first two runs of the men’s single luge event. These men are brave, and perhaps a little bit mad to do this for a living! Did they go down the slide in their local playground as a kid and decide this is what they wanted to do for the rest of their lives?

Replacing metal with ice, and travelling at speeds as fast as 135kmh is something I would only consider if I was uncontrollably intoxicated.

These men fly down the track. Blink and you miss it! You can only sit back and admire the amount of bottle this guys have to do this.

If you haven’t seen Jozef Ninis literally start to fly halfway through his run then you must!


Women’s skiathlon: Gold- Charlotte Kalla (SWEDEN), Silver- Marit Bjorgen (NORWAY), Bronze- Krista Parmakoski (FINLAND)

Men’s 1500m speed skating: Gold- Lim Hyo-jun (KOREA), Silver- Sjinkie Knegt (NETHERLANDS), Bronze-  Semen Elistratov (OAR)

Women’s 3000m speed skating: Gold- Carlijn Achtereekte (NETHERLANDS), Silver- Ireen Wust (NETHERLANDS), Bronze- Antoinette de Jong (NETHERLANDS)

Women’s biathlon: Gold- Laura Dahlmeier (GERMANY), Silver- Marte Olsbu (NORWAY), Bronze- Veronika Vitkova (CZECH REPUBLIC)

Men’s normal hill ski jumping:  Gold- Andreas Wellinger (GERMANY), Johann Andre Forfang (NORWAY), Robert Johansson (NORWAY)