By Jack Tarrant
PYEONGCHANG (Reuters) - Strong cross-winds played havoc during the women's snowboard slopestyle final at the Pyeongchang Winter Games on Monday, prompting some competitors to say the event should have been postponed.
The start of the final was delayed by over an hour because of the wind but, after qualification was canceled entirely on Sunday due to the weather, organizers decided it could go ahead.
Only five of the 25 riders who attempted a run made it down the first run without falling in the difficult conditions, which also included hard snow, and none of the riders were able to complete two error-free runs.
Sochi champion Jamie Anderson of the United States seemed to cope best with the conditions and retained her title with a score of 83.00 points at Phoenix Snow Park.
Austrian favorite Anna Gasser was among those who failed to complete either of her runs.
"Yes it should have been postponed," Gasser told reporters after the final. "We tried to speak to officials but the Olympics put us under pressure to do it today.
"They said we had to do it today but we have three weeks (to run the event)."
Gasser said Anderson was the only one who wanted the competition to go ahead because she had the "safest run".
Norway's Silje Norendal said she had approached the event director about postponing it.
"Before my first run I was just up there crying. It is crazy that we did it today," she said, adding that television scheduling was behind the decision.
Norendal finished fourth while Gasser was 15th.
However, American Hailey Langland, who fell on the first run but put in a solid second effort to finish sixth, said the conditions were manageable.
"It shouldn't have been cancelled," said the 17-year-old.
"We are snowboarders and should be able to deal with it. The girls on the podium showed that and that is why they are up there."
The conditions had already been blamed for injuries suffered on the mountain.
Australian snowboarder Tess Coady took to Instagram to blame the wind for the injury she suffered in practice for qualifying on Sunday.
"(I) got picked up in the wind on the bottom jump in practice and my ACL was not a big fan!" Coady said in her Instagram post.
Earlier in the day, POCOG spokesman Sung Baik-you told reporters that the windy weather would continue into Wednesday.
"The temperature in the mountains is minus 15 to minus 25 Celsius," he said. "The wind speed is five-10 metres per second and it is making competitions very difficult."
All the athletes have a second run, with the best score from the two counting towards their final position.
(Reporting by Jack Tarrant; editing by Sudipto Ganguly)