Exclusive: Terje Haakonsen Talks Olympics

terjeTACespen
Terje about to drop at TAC. Photo: Espen Lystad.

On the eve of the perhaps the most hyped contest of all time, Onboard ed in chief Danny Burrows has a few words with shredgend Terje to see what he thought of the contest he famously flipped the bird to at the height of his pipe powers.

Snowboarding’s inclusion in the winter Olympic’s was once a contentious subject, although those opposing the union seem fewer and less vociferous these days. Objections range from the governance of snowboarding by the FIS (a ski federation that in the past was vehemently anti-snowboarding), the flag-flying and wearing of uniforms that appears to contradict the spirit of riding, and the International Olympic Committee’s stringent rules of qualification and participants’ sponsorship. For example the IOC insists that sponsors remove their participating riders from any promotional material before and during the Games – hence the disappearance of the top rippers from sites and advertising – presumably to not offend the Olympics’ corporate sponsors.

In 98, with snowboarding’s first curtain call at the Games looming, Terje was focussed on by the media – rather than of his own making – as the band leader of the anti-Olympics movement. Therefore on the eve of what will be snowboarding’s fourth appearance in the Olympics we thought it fitting to put a few questions to him on what he though of snowboarding’s tempestuous union with the event.

If you were in the same position this year as you were back in ‘98 would you take the same stance?
Terje Haakonsen: Yes, I would and I would actually be loud and make a point of it. In 97-98 it was only a few interviews [I did] that got the press to go nuts. Now I know way more about the IOC and their connections with the FIS. It seems like everybody forgot the IOC scandals that went public and now the sheep are just following again.

I would fight for my sport to be treated fairly and make sure progression and snowboarding were presented as the rider would like it to be. The IOC is still drilling everybody with their strict rules that benefits them and not sports. I can’t believe they all accept it. The Olympics is good for every sport, it get media attention all over the world, but, man, they control all the guys that want to go there.

What do you think of the standard of riding that has emerged since the NZ Open?
It’s amazing to see that the level is still rising this much. It would be nice to see a little different pipes, though. They could use their creativity and shape the snow a little differently, so we could see new ways [of riding], combos and lines.

Also the format has become pretty stale I think. The golden run format works, but it’s almost like you know your placing before you start because you know all the guys’ runs and if you stick yours you know where you will end up. Like the double cork now – if you don’t have it, you won’t be top three or five, or next month 10th maybe.

It would be nice to see more tricks and variations, there is a lot more than 8 tricks and combos that is hard and looks good, I think. That might be more fun for the guys, too, and hopefully less guys would get hurt! So many guys will get hurt this season trying to make the golden run.

What do you think about this whole private pipes and airbags for practice thing?
I’m sure it is very good for learning new tricks. Unfortunately there are very few that have the chance to do this. I’m sure some guys think this is weak and not snowboarding, but when the level is that high and the crashes that hard, it’s only good to ease into it.

Now, over in Vancouver as d-day approaches, a shaping crew from Arena Snowparks has been working on the pipe for the past two weeks battling rain and unseasonably warm temperatures with an armoury of salt and freezing agents. These conditions have also lead to training days being cut from five to three days, which is still not bad considering riders usually only have two to train on the Open series.

Tomorrow, the best male pipe riders in the world will be tearing Cypress Mountain’s pipe a new arsehole, with the women following up 24 hours later. Although, Shaun is favourite for gold and apparently has already booked a global victory tour with his PR team, the competition is still open. Sadly, two contenders will not be dropping – Danny Davis and Kevin Pearce – but we are sure that every run will be dialled with them in mind.

Here’s wishing them both a fast and full recovery, and may the best man and woman on the day win.

  1. phil

    ME I BOYCOTT BURTON SNOWBOARD, I DID THE OLYMPIC AND HAD GREAT EXPERIENCE….BELIEVE ME THE IOC IS NOT AS BAD AS SOME SNOWBOARD COMPANY AND NOBODY IS PERFECT.

  2. phil

    TERJE YOU ARE JUST “AS BEEN” IN YOUR ITW…DON’T YOU SEE THAT YOUR SPORT HAVE CHANGE ! IT NOT THE SAME SPORT AS 10YEARS AGO…AND THE LEVEL IS HIGHER NOT BEACAUSE OF YOUR TTR BUT BECAUSE OF THE OLYMPIC.
    GET A GRIP THIS IS HOW IS IT, X-GAMES, OLYMPIC, TTR IS ALL ABOUT PROFIT AND MR TERJE IS A GOOD BUSINESS MAN LIKE ALL THESES ORGANIZATION. WANTS MONEY ? ORGANIZE AN EVENTS AND CLAIM THAT IS A COOL EVENT AND THAT THE OLYMPIC SUCKS !

  3. Jimmy

    Burton is the IOC of snowboarding.

  4. Bobby

    These comments are retarded. Terje has done a lot for the sport, speaks convincingly and appears very level-headed. And while I am down with Burton bashing, they’ve made a lot of what Terje and other riders have accomplished possible. HATERs, you all.

  5. Dazzler

    Amen to that Terje has done way more for snowboarding than any IOC fuckwits.

    The IOC is all about making money, the TTR is owned by the events themselves and is a not-for-profit organisation

    Get your facts straight you tool

  6. Crackpipe

    phil has been smoking crack

  7. Ben Dover

    Wake up. The Olympics has done for snowboarding what McDonald’s has done for food. Whatever you think of Terje, he’s always had the riders’ interests and progression of snowboarding at heart. If you think the IOC, FIS or mainstream media have than you are sorely misguided.

  8. Lubba

    WASN’T IT THE GENIUSES AT FIS OR IOC WHO DECIDED TO HOLD THE PIPE CONTEST AT 1000 METRES? NOW IT IS FUCKED AND RIDERS HAVE BEEN PUSHING THEMSELVES FOR NOTHING. GREAT WORK, DICKS.

  9. Fludi

    UNITED SNOWBOARDERS AGAINST FIS CONTROL!!!

  10. ben

    terje is right! but why do you guys boycott the B?

    i support the B not longer as well. i mean they kick good snowboarders out with reasons that are NOT true…check why RDM is kicked out!

    anyway…i hope ipod beat mr white!
    go swiss!!!

  11. dave

    Man he is sooooo right! And i cant often enough point out the fact about the flag-flying, uniformed pigs at the Olympics. The Olympics are not about YOUR SPORT they are about the fame of countries gained on the backs of their athletes. Thats just poor and wont progress any sport!
    When i open up the news paper today and all those headlines talk about how good he/she did it “for us” or how many medals “we already have” makes me wanna puke …
    Sorry, maybe I am not patriotic enough but thats just how I feel!

  12. shredpunk

    I’m completely agreeing with Terje.

    And it’s nice to see him speaking out about how boring pipe runs have become, with the same tricks (however difficult they are) being layed down in rehearsed runs.

    let the IOC & FIS keep pipe and boardcross as they’ve ruined them anyway

    as long as they leave slopestyle alone!! can you imagine the “olympic standard” being tagged onto facsimile slope style courses… completely killing the creativity of the park designers and the riders

    I still remember how the ISF where fecked over by the FIS & IOC and believe that team uniforms and all this B/S national pride is not good for snowboarding, development or growth… let’s give them freeski pipe and get the hell out of there!!..most of the viewers won’t spot the difference!!

  13. Babass

    Hello,Peace and love, easy guys.
    Ain’t no right or wrong.
    I come from a week end with my buddies. Fresh snow, raclette and sun shinning.

  14. JK

    Snowboading halfpipe (olympics) is becomming like figure skating and ski aerials. Those runs are ugly to watch, and style gets lost as guys focus on going big and more rotations. Soon it’s all gonna be little gymnasts in skinsuits.

X

Also in Interviews

The Knowledge – Juuso Laivisto vs Gjermund Bråten

Read More