nb_cid nb_clickOther -tt-nb this.style.behavior='url(#default#homepage)';this.setHomePage('http://www.aol.com/?mtmhp=acm50ieupgradebanner_112313 network-banner-empty upgradeBanner
AOL Mail
AOL Mail
AOL Favorites

Olympic halfpipe problems mounting, Shaun White seeking his third straight gold medal

White Qualifies For Halfpipe Final

KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia (AP) -- Rider after rider took a crash course Monday night on an Olympic halfpipe that looked only half ready with less than 24 hours until men's competition is set to start.

There were dozens of falls, very few big tricks and a lot of complaining during a practice session that was pushed from morning to night while workers tried to make fixes. The men's event is Tuesday, and American Shaun White will be seeking his third straight gold medal.

"When you see every other person fall, you know something's wrong," said American Hannah Teter, who took gold in 2006 and silver four years ago. "It's a little dangerous. I've seen more people fall today than I saw all season. It's dangerous because it's crappy."

American Danny Davis labeled the halfpipe as "garbage" on Sunday. After returning Monday, he said things were slightly improved but not ideal.

"It's a bummer to show up to an event like the Olympics and not have the quality of the halfpipe match the quality of the riders," Davis said. "Anyone who watched practice tonight can see there were a bunch of people bouncing around in the flat bottom."

White called it "pretty hard to ride," but said it was nothing riders haven't dealt with before at other competitions.

"The flat bottom is just sand and mush," he said. "It's pretty heavy. And once everyone gets in there, it just turns to mush."

Riders said the steeply vertical pitch of the halfpipe has largely been corrected. But the bottom of the pipe is bouncy and slow. Dozens of riders clattered through the bottom, which slows speed and causes wrecks.

Davis said organizers told him they would treat the halfpipe with chemicals that keep the ice frozen at higher temperatures. Highs were in the 40s on Monday.

American coach Mike Jankowski said riders were simply going to have to deal with the conditions presented to them.

"If everything were perfect every time and this were an indoor sport, we'd be figure skating," he said. "Whoever deals with the conditions the best is going to win a medal and whoever gives up isn't going to win a medal."

American Kelly Clark, who won gold in 2002 and bronze in 2010, said conditions were less than ideal but she's been preparing for that.

"Any less-than-perfect pipe we dealt with the last four years, I said, `If this is what we're dealing with in Sochi, I want to be ready,'" she said. "I look at it as an opportunity."

Four years ago in Vancouver, riders complained about the pipe in the lead-up but said conditions improved for the actual contest.

They're hoping for the same thing here.

"The first contest is tomorrow and nobody's ready," Teter said. "They haven't been able to practice their tricks. They're trying to stay alive every run. It's harsh."

More From You

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum
Filter by:
green gate farm February 11 2014 at 5:10 PM

I wonder if atheles from other countries are complaining, or is it just the Americans? No one can create ideal conditions, not outside anyway. If one can't compete in other than ideal conditions then maybe one shouldn't be competing.

Reply Flag as Abusive -1 rate up rate down
srbuckley44 February 11 2014 at 4:48 PM

Shaun White is done. A few weeks ago he said "Don't call me the flying tomato", believing all the media and fan hype. Now he is nothing - sissied out on the slopestyle, preventing someone else from getting in, dumped the halfpipe, and quickly becomes yesterday's news...He is getting fitted for an X games blazer, which is the only reason he'll be on tv a year from now. He and Tiger can sit around and play 'Remember When'...

Reply Flag as Abusive -2 rate up rate down
MASTER February 11 2014 at 3:42 PM

Shaun White...fourth place. Never should have cut his hair. Look what happened to Samson!

Reply Flag as Abusive rate up rate down
1 reply to MASTER's comment
srbuckley44 February 11 2014 at 4:49 PM


Reply Flag as Abusive rate up rate down
san3rensho February 11 2014 at 2:31 PM

Why is the winter Olympics being held in one of the most southern parts of Russia at the bottom of a mountain. What genius did this?

Reply Flag as Abusive +1 rate up rate down
Richard February 11 2014 at 2:29 PM

Everybody already knew, so what do you mean, came out?

Reply Flag as Abusive +1 rate up rate down
americanmusclen55 February 11 2014 at 1:13 PM

333333333333333333333333 peat!

Reply Flag as Abusive rate up rate down
americanmusclen55 February 11 2014 at 1:12 PM

But............................. Correction. Early not Awake!

Reply Flag as Abusive rate up rate down
americanmusclen55 February 11 2014 at 1:11 PM

Have Your Say...Well I have to take back what I said about Shaun White, I do like him, bought I thought maybe he was being a bit of a chicken pulling out of the other sport, with that said, I apologize. It doesn't look so good the snow, so I do apologize on the boards.

Win 3

Reply Flag as Abusive +1 rate up rate down
littiechief February 11 2014 at 12:42 PM

IMO champions should be able to adapt to less than perfect conditions anyway. Where's the challenge if everything is perfect for you every time? Those who can adapt will win, those who cannot will lose. If they wanted conditions to be perfect every time then they should've chosen an indoor sport.

I have as much respect for the daredevil that gives it a go anyway, as I do for the athlete who knows his limits and can admit when something is beyond his abilities and/or not worth the risk. Both take a lot of courage to do.

Reply Flag as Abusive +1 rate up rate down
1 reply to littiechief's comment
msgoe February 11 2014 at 1:57 PM

and they will adapt, however an olympian in any sport has earned and deserves the absolute best conditions period.
what will happen is many more injuries ... and you will not see their best performance ever, what you will see is their best performance under crappy conditions .. two very different things

Reply Flag as Abusive +1 rate up rate down
salvagablegoods February 11 2014 at 12:23 PM

who really cares?

Reply Flag as Abusive -2 rate up rate down
~~ 2592000


More From Our Partners