In amongst Terje’s regular anti-Olympic rants about us cowardly hacks, he makes the (not unreasonable) point that, thanks to the way qualification works, the Games will never be able to feature all of the world’s best riders. Indeed, the 2018 iteration will be missing a few big names in all three disciplines.
It’s not all about the competition structure, although that does play a large part. With a maximum of four slots per country, well-stacked national teams like Norway and the USA will be leaving folk at home that, on their day, could probably hit the podium. Meanwhile some lesser rider is there thanks to an easier road to hitting their quota.
“some stuck two fingers up at the five rings a long time ago, and were never going to be involved”
Injuries are a factor, too; some riders did everything they needed to do to book their ticket to Pyeongcheng, only to bust themselves in the build-up the main event, while others missed too many qualifiers to rack up the required points.
Then, of course, there are those who stuck two fingers up at the five rings a long time ago, and were never going to be involved. For some it’s down to a general apathy towards competition, while for others the specific nature of the Olympics is the turn-off.
We’ve no doubt that the standard of riding will be fully bonkers; there are the so-hot-right-now types like Rene Rikkangas, Hailey Langland and Sebbe De Buck, as well as returning medallists including Ayumu Hirano, Jamie Anderson and Stale Sandbech.
Still, despite the crazy strong field in each event, we wish these guys and girls were going to South Korea too.