QUESTIONING THE OLYMPICS

Date: February 8, 2018 Author: Jesse Fox Categories: features
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Was this the best thing to happen to snowboarding at the Olympics? Johnny Lyall, Indy Bomb from the cheap seats right into the welcoming the world to Vancouver, Canada in 2010. He could have bunted under the pressure, big time. Instead, he rode away like a golden god.

If you’re asking, here’s what we’re thinking…

Should snowboard contests be run by snowboarders? Yes.

Does snowboarding belong in the Olympics? Nope.

Is snowboarding even about competition? We don’t believe so.

Do snowboarders need the Olympics? No. But a few of them wouldn't know what to do without it…

Why should we care one way or the other about snowboarding’s inclusion in the Olympics? Because the Olympics have become corrupt on almost every level. Causing and contributing to social economical injustices increasing the divide between the haves and have-nots while leaving a wake of ruin in many cities. Billion-dollar infrastructure goes to waste for the sake of greed or a country's ego. And so companies like Coca-Cola and McDonald's can prey on our emotions by advertising to us at every turn... Snowboarding doesn’t need to be associate with all that.

Do the Olympics unite the world with sport? That’s a tough one. Maybe it does and doesn’t all at the same time? At times we see a fractionally less sadistic version of the Hunger Games where death isn’t the outcome but might be easier than the pain of blowing expectations and letting down the country, family, and self. (There can only be one winner and may the odds be ever in your favour, right?) Then, on the other hand, we find ourselves immersed in the real-life drama of it all. Watching people rise to the occasion and do the amazing things they do can be pretty entertaining.

Do the Olympics promote world peace? I’ve never seen so much debate as to who should have won the last men's Slopestyle competition in Sochi. The debate was heavy. No justice, no peace.

Have the Olympics perpetuated the progression in snowboarding to a level that’s become almost unattainable? Sacrificing some style and creativity along the way? Absolutely.

So what do we do about this whole Olympic debacle? Do whatever you want. Don’t look to us for that answer. We’re going to pour a stiff drink and lap it up! The Canadian team that’s heading full steam into this circus is psyched. And we’re psyched for them. They’re the best in world and they’re fantastic people. So, man, who cares! We’re not in any position to overthrow FIS, dial back progression, and destroy everything that’s evil about the Olympics (We could barely get this issue to print on time.). All we’re going to do is: stay up late, yell at the television, watch these kids huck, and have as much fun with it as we can.

And while Jake Burton may not have all the answers, we do dig his take on the Olympics. Here’re the highlights from a speech he made while unveiling the Team Canada freestyle uniforms not so long ago.

“We’re humming along as a sport through the ’70s, ’80s, ’90s, growing in very healthy ways as a sport. Then all of a sudden we get a phone call—you’re in the Olympics. We had no say, no heads up, and we dealt with it. We went to the first event in Nagano, [Japan,1998] and they spelt snowboarding wrong, and Terje [Håkonsen] in his infinite wisdom said, “This is not my cup of tea. I don’t know about those people—it’s like the mafia.” And then a few years later they were all busted and went to jail. But that’s another story. At any rate, snowboarding isn’t about uniforms, it’s about individual expression and wearing what you want to wear. And it’s also not really about countries either. It just not really what our sport is about. But it’s an opportunity for these riders to get mainstream exposure and have people see them, and they should see them. It’s cool. So, for four days out of every four years, it’s not that big of a deal. It’s a departure for a few days, let's make it fun. Let’s not put snowboarding in the Olympics, let’s put the Olympics into snowboarding.” —Jake Burton

Enjoy the show. –Jesse Fox, Editor