By Tim Hart
PYEONGCHANG (Reuters) – The International Ski Federation (FIS) has refuted claims that athletes’ complaints had been ignored in the build-up to the controversial women’s snowboard slopestyle Olympic final on Monday.
Several athletes, including Austrian Anna Gasser and Norway’s Silje Norendal, complained after the final that the extreme wind and hard snow made conditions too dangerous to compete and said they had requested the event be postponed.
The start of the final was delayed by more than 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 competing made it down the first run without falling in the difficult conditions and none of them completed two error-free runs.
American Jamie Anderson coped best and retained her title with a score of 83.00 points at the Phoenix Snow Park.
FIS communications manger Jenny Wiedeke said on Tuesday that only one team had made a complaint before the final.
“FIS has a very clear line of communication with its athletes and coaches,” she told Reuters.
“We do have connection coaches and athlete representatives for our events and especially in snowboard freestyle because it’s a smaller field the athletes have much more direct contact with our directors.
“It wasn’t a protest which one team issued, they just went to our race director Roby (Moresi) and just voiced their concerns about the wind conditions, so there was no formal protest.”
The weather was much improved at the venue on Tuesday, with the women’s snowboard halfpipe final going ahead without any problems.
(Writing by Jack Tarrant; Editing by John O’Brien)