Pyeongchang 2018

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Show-stealing and breathtakingly pioneering – five reasons to follow snowboarding in PyeongChang

PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 17:  Shaun White of USA competes in the FIS Freestyle World Cup Snowboard Halfpipe Qualification at Bokwang Snow Park on February 17, 2017 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea.  (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

Snowboarding brought a youthful vibrancy to the Olympic Winter Games when it was introduced at Nagano 1998. Here are five reasons why you should watch it.

1.Halfpipe under lights

Under floodlights, with a big crowd watching, halfpipe really is one of the show-stealing events of the Olympic Winter Games. It’s turbo-charged skateboarding, but on the snow and in the mountains. The tight, enclosed pipe adds to the spectacle, with competitors performing acrobatics and tricks in the ‘ditch with walls’.

2. Slopestyle for aficionados

This is the event for hardcore fans of the sport. Introduced for the first time at Sochi 2014, it takes place on a bigger course out in the open air. Slopestyle demands the speed and agility of skiing combined with the tricks and manoeuvres of halfpipe.

3. New tricks

One of the great things about snowboarding is that it’s constantly evolving and reinventing itself, with athletes creating new tricks all the time. Japanese¬†snowboarder Yuki Kadono created shockwaves in the sport by landing a backside quad cork 1980 for the first time in May. Can he repeat that feat in PyeongChang? And will other competitors come up with tricks we’ve never seen before?

4. Chloe Kim

The 17-year-old was too young to compete in 2014, but these could be her Games. Kim already has a devoted following in the United States, but her Korean heritage could make her a hit with the home fans in PyeongChang too. She is the first US snowboarder to win gold at an Olympic Winter Youth Games, the first woman to land back-to-back 1080s in competition and was a medallist at the Winter X Games at the age of 14. She is definitely a pioneer of her sport.

5. Shaun White

If Kim is the exciting future of snowboarding, then White is the glorious past – although he’ll want to be the present in PyeongChang too. He was the most talked about athlete on Facebook at Sochi 2014 (even though he didn’t win a medal) and even has a computer game named after him. White won gold at Turin 2006 and Vancouver 2010 in halfpipe and still has the chance to add to his Olympic medal tally.

 

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