[Refresh for latest from around 21.30 Euro time.]
Hello, good evening and welcome to our live coverage of today/tonight/to-stupid-early-in-the-morning's men's Olympic pipe contest.
This is it. After four years of ignoring us, the world swings its critical eye on the halfpipe at Cypress Mountain. Riders have been going nuts on the run in to tonight's gig, pushing the sport to ridiculous heights in less than a year, and we're in place, beer in hand to see the greatest show on earth unfold. Except that some rocket scientist thought it was a good idea to hold a pipe event by the seaside... Actually, though shapers' sphincters had been quivering a couple of days ago when rain was threatening to crumble the walls, latest reports state it's colder, firmer and riders are finally able to shred to more like their full potential. We'll know the real deal soon enough...
And to celebrate, we've had the equally genius idea to post run-by-run (the minute-by-minute might not turn out to be strictly true) updates on what goes down in the U-Jump for those whose internet is from 1999, for those who have no TVs and for those who prefer to read. Seriously, who's dumb idea was it to have us up till 6am Euro side?
The qualifiers are set to kick off at 13.05 local time, making it 22.05 in Central Europe, so we'll be ramping up shortly before then with - hopefully - some input from our man on the ground. You can also try checking out DC main man Thierry Kunz and his buddy Romain's Facebook blog for some fun little tidbits. The semis are set for 17.15 in Vancouver, and the finals follow on at 19.15. We're 9 hours ahead so you do the math. Ok, 02.15 and 04.15 at the asscrack of Friday morning.
Let's have some hard facts now, eh.
Location: Cypress Mountain, about 40 minutes by car from Vancouver.
Crowd capacity: 8,000 (probably less now as they had to cancel a bunch of tickets...)
Wall height: 6.5m (22ft) | Width: 19.5m (64ft) | Start Elevation: 1003m | Finish Elevation: 952m | Vertical: 51m | Slope Length: 160m | Grade: 18 degrees
ZENG Xiaoye (CHN), ZEBROWSKI Gary (FRA), VITO Louie (USA), KORPI Janne (FIN), WHITE Shaun (USA), AONO Ryo (JPN), CREPEL Mathieu (FRA), KELLER Markus (SUI), KILNER Ben (GBR), KIM Ho-Jun (KOR), VERGES Ruben (ESP), HAMILTON James (NZL), KLEIVDAL Roger-S (NOR), MATES Ben (NZL), SANDBECH Staale (NOR), RICCIARDI Aluan (FRA), PIETROPOLI Manuel (ITA), VAN DER WAL, Dolf (NL), HALLER Christian (SUI), LIGOCKI Michal (POL).
BATCHELOR Jeff (CAN), LONGO Arthur (FRA), MALIN Markus (FIN), MARTIN Brad (CAN), MURAKAMI Daisuke (JPN), LAMOUREUX Justin (CAN), PODLADTCHIKOV Iouri (SUI), KOKUBO Kazuhiro (JPN), BERGER Sergio (SUI), KUDO Kohei (JPN), SHI Wancheng (CHN), JAMES Scott (CHN), SCHMIDT Christophe (GER), BRETZ Gregory (USA), HOLVIK Tore-V. (NOR), KOSKI Markku (FIN), PIIROINEN Peetu (FIN), LAGO Scotty (USA), BROWN Mitchell (NZL), AUSTBO Fredrik (NOR).
Wow, feel pretty Austrian after all that last-name-firsting.
While it has been tempting to just write "Everyone went snowboarding and Shaun White won" and get an early night, cats have been training hard and deserve to have their riding written about before Shaun White wins. That's what the mainstream will tell you anyway. Our call? Erm, Shaun will win. With back-to-back double cork 10s, the double McTwist 12 (that the newly self-christened Red Zeppelin has dubbed 'The Tomahawk'), and a couple more doubles he's yet to drop it would be a shock more shocking that that girl in Crying Game having a wanger if he didn't end up crying in the red, white and blue when all's done.
But if there's a couple of riders who can give him a run, or at least have him looking over his shoulder, we'd say Swiss rock star Iouri Podladtchikov, Finnish gnarler Peetu Piiroinen, and dancing boy Louie Vito certainly have enough in the can to make it tight at the top. Then there's the more unknown quantity of the Chinese and Japanese (yeah Kazu) Does snowboarding have the potential to be like football and be 'a funny old game' with 'runs not ridden on paper'?
We'll see in a few hours then, eh.
Until then, check out what some of the riders who'll be strapping shortly have to say about pipe riding, the olympics, progression and more. We'll be back around 21.30 Euro time.
More Snowboarding >>
Our man on the ground has been in touch. Onboard Ed in Chief Danny Burrows is in Canada, though not quite at Cypress yet, at the behest of some people who we're not supposed to mention because of some Olympic red tape-type thing. Anyway, this is what he fired in about the mood over there...
Canada this morning woke to a sore head brought on by local girl Maelle Ricker's victory in the women's boardercross and it seems that their collective drinking may have ushered in fair weather for today¹s showdown, with cooler temperatures and clear skies gracing Cypress so hopefully we will be in for an epic contest.
Here in Vancouver, at the Winter Olympics, the rumour mills surrounding snowboarding have been whirring like wind turbines in a force 10 gale: apparently the pipe has some serious issues with holes and questionable vert and until yesterday the venue of Cypress Mountain was cursed by warm weather and rain. It's far from the conditions that the riders have been used to for the past four years of competing and training.
What is true though is that the state of the pipe may open the road to gold that if you subscribe to the zealous confidence of the American contingent here has been wholly reserved for Shaun and his collection of doubles. He remains the sole member of the pipe fraternity here that has landed a double in practice the first and only in the Cypress pipe so far - and may still have a 'spoon bender' of a trick up his sleeve for today's event according to sources close to him but in football parlance its not over until the fat lady sings. He is after all pitted against the world's best riders.
He also tried to fire us over a picture but as anyone who knows him will attest, our Dan's not the most au fait with cutting edge technology. We listened to what he was saying and have represented it graphically below instead...
People in the crowd are cheering like drongos and ringing cowbells every time a camera is pointed anyway near them. Didn't anyone tell them downhill skiing's on a different mountain?
China's Xiaoye Zeng has the honour of kicking this shindig off. Let's see what he's got. Don't wanna be a dick but part of me's hoping not much as his name is a bitch to type.
Zeng gets the 'you're good' from the marshall, and drops to pull a fs air, bs 9, f7 catching coping, mctwist, and something at the bottom. Not the best.
25 year old Gary Zebrowski up next. fs9. mc, fs7, cab 10, huge frontside air. Decent run from the Frenchman and despite what the doomers were saying, he had pretty good height.
Louie Vito gives us the first double cork of the day. And then another. First hit Double 10 into cab double to arse. Gt away with it though, but Sami here was screaming 'scary as fuck!'. He just said "My butt hurts"> Epic
Good run from Finnish duder Janne Korpi. Got lost in his run somewhat but there was a smooth front 10 to cab 10 in there with god height. "Duude', says Sami at the 26.5 score. He's Finnish.
Shaun. Here we go... Huuuuge backside air. double 10, cab 10, fs 5, back 9. Bang. Warm up run though, for sure.
45.8 for Shaun. That should be him through. Damn, Shaun frickin' booted that first hit.
Japan's Ryo Aono up next. Big fs tailbone, to bs 9, fs 10, cab 7, fs 9. The boy had some travel for sure n that back 9 and bags 33.2 points.
Mat Crepel's got a nice moustache, that's for sure. Launching with a fs 10, scabbed something and then we lost it cause he dropped the double cork 10 and launched a beefy switch frontside air into switch backside 9. He will have been marked down for the scuffed rentry but still gets 30 odd points
Keller kicks off with a big, uberstyled front 9 but lands way deep on the tranny which pretty much means his run was over. But still got in his epic air to fakie and a attempted double.
KIIIIIIIIIIILNER. Do it for BRITAIN Ben! His run was a bs air, fs 10, haakon, fs 9 and lost speed. Damn. Next one mate.
Some chap goes small on the first hit and almost falls. Oh My GOD, he says at the bottom. Indeed. Don't think we'll see Kim Ho Jung in the finals.
Cab 7, Haakon and frontside spin to fall sums up Spain's Ruben Vergas's first pop at the pipe.
Kiwi James Hamilton drops in, goes for the front 10 and sits down on the trannie. Another try for you, mate.
Roger Kleivdal's got the lick on occasion. Has he here? fs air, corked bs 9, fs 7, switch double cork to trannie up the arse was his run. Is that a proper Murray Walkering?
Ban Mates from Oz drops fs 9, inverted bs 5, air fakie, haakon, inverted fs 7 and then tells us all his name is Ben. An Ok run there, Ben. 28.3 points.
The biggest air to fakie in the world kicks off Staale Sandbech's run. Unfortunately he folded himself on the coping on his next hit . Gnarly. He's Ok though.
Aluan Riccardi from France looked like he was hanging on for dear life a bit there, but went big and had some big spins and ends with 25 odd points.
Manuel Pietrpoli has a nice method to kick off, into fs 9, bs9 and then a slam.
We're having a slight technical difficulty in our media hub, but are back in time to see an orange clad man fall on his last hit. Dolf Van Der Vaaal it was.
Method, front 10 to ass and that was it for Christian Haller's first run. Must be said, quite a few people have fell so far. Is that the pipe? sami reckons he saw a chunk of it fall off.
Poland's Michal Ligocki drops in and intomethod, fs9, bs 9 and a slam. After the first runs of heat 1, it's Shaun White in first, Ryo Ryono second and Mat Crepel third.
Some smartarse is playing 'Under Pressure' over the speakers as China's Xiaoye Zeng readys for his second run and looks to up his game. melon bs 9, fs 7, Haakon 7, front 9. He might have upped his points, but we don't reckon that will be enough to make top 6. What do we know, eh? Into third he goes.
Zebrowski run 2. Fs 9, bs 5, fs 10, cab 10 to scrubber. That won't beat his first score.
Louie Vito looks to avoid ass pain again. fs double 10 cab double 10, stale, bs 5, and something at the bottom. "He doesn't go that big" someone here said. But 41.8 will see him through. "That's for you Kevin"
Lot's of "Voi VITTU" here as Janne Korpi's run ends in a double cork slam.
Shaun White. Big bs air and then front double cork to... shock horror. SLAM. Whatever, he's through to the finals.
Currently 3rd, Ryo Aono drops in for a cocktail of fs airs, bs 9s, fs 10s, cab 10s and fs 9s. Solid run. He's in. 43.1 and into second. With no double corks. Oooooh.
Crepel and his tash. Front 10 to slam. That's not good for the Frenchman, but he's in 5th still.
The purists favourite, Markus Keller drops in hoping to improve. Pulling a fs9, bs 5, air fakie, haakon, double cork 10 but sketches out and that, sadly, might be curtains for the Swiss
Ben Kilner. Bs fs 10, haakon, fs 9, bs 5. Bit of sketchiness on the front 10 but 32.1 sees him into 6th.
Sorry, missed the Korean dude's run as the Finn next t me was bitching about the judging on Korpi's first run.
Ruben Vergas. fs 7 corked, haakon, fs 9, method, front 10 to slam. 19.5 and definitely not in the finals
Fs 10, haakon, lien, bs 5, fs corked 9 was what James Hamilton has to offer from his second run. 28 points.
Kleivdal again. Fs air, bs 9, fs7, double cork to slamerooney. It wasn't my fault this time, honest.
Oz's Ben Mates. Fs9, bs 5, air fakie, haakon, fs 7. It's rad seeing air fakies. Nice work Mates.
Here comes Staale again. He seems to be fine after his evil loking encounter with the coping. Smaller air fakie, some stuff coz we got excited but pretty big and spinny, but arsed out on his double cork. Risky business. He'd probably have been through if he;d landed something there.
Fs air, bs 9, double 10, haakon, fs9 sums up a solid run from France's Aluan Riccardi. 37.9 points. Bang.
Missed another run, but it seems Manuel Pietropoli slammed as he scored 5.2. Either that or the judges were reading this MBM.
We know the man in orange is the Netherlad's Dolf Van Der Waal. Of course it is. Fricking orange innit. Method, fs 10, cab 10 butt check. Damn
Method, huge front 10 and a fall. Christian Haller ain't having much luck here.
Poland's Michal Logocki Supermans his first hit and ends up falling 2 hits later.
And that's that for Heat 1 of the qualifiers. Shaun White, Ryo Ayono, Louie Vito go straight to the finals, Aluan Riccardi, Xiaoye Zeng, Mathieu Crepel, Ben Kilner, Gary Zebrowski, and Ben Mates are through to the semi finals. A bit of a wait now till heat 2 so we'll post our thoughts of the first heat's riding in a beer err couple minutes.
What did we notice? Well, one thing's for sure. Shaun White posted the highest score of Heat 1 without even breaking a sweat. And he went bigger than everyone else. His run was sick, but no back to back doubles? No McGingerHawk? No never-before-seen tricks? You're just playin', aintcha Shauny boy.
The snow looks sugary and bumpy and many riders seemed to be clearly struggling - there was more falls than we can remember from a major pipe contest, and while the throwing of double corks that many riders thought necessary may have had something to do with the number of falls, it ain't the perfectly groomed rad tube.
Yeah, the double corks. A few riders seemed to have a full on, hell for leather, all or bust mentality with that trick when in reality maybe a more measured approach would have served them better. Ryo Aono got second with not a whiff of the double cork's flange and Kilner, Zebrowski and Ben Mates get to have another bite of the cherry in the Semis, again by flicking the double the Vs.
Staale Sandbech's air to fakie was the balls of Satan. And that means good, by the way. It was fucking huge and you must see it somewhere, somehow.
I am British and thus have been going nuts for Ben Kilner. Excuse the shameless bias for one particular rider but I would be so stoked if he made the cut for the finals, known the boy since he was 13. Would love to hear what Ed Leigh had to say on the BBC. If he makes it I will name my firstborn boy Ben. It might be the middle name, but will be there and that's a promise. COME ON KILNER!
Canadian Jeff Batchelor gets Heat 2 started with the crowd pumped. Method, fs5 to knuckle a bit some other stuff and then a nasty slam. Damn, that kicked off quick
Cab 10, lien, mctwist, front double cork, switch alley oop backside rodeo. Bit sketchy landing on the double but that was pretty solid from Arthur Longo. 34.5 points.
Markus Malin is Finnish. Expect Vittus from here soon. Fs air, bs 9, double cork 10, stuttered stream and alley oop rodeo. No Vittus but no score yet. It should be a good un though... 32.8. Bit of confusion over the judging on that from here.
Brad Martin from Canada. Stale, bs 5, nasty front something to ass. The crowd don't care though. Them's ringing them bells. And he was ona Lamar, are they still around then?
Huge bs air to huuuuge frontside spin to fail from Daisuke Murakami. He went stupid big there. Sterotypical comment about kamikazes anyone?
Justin Lamoureux is Canadian. *Cheers* Bs 5, fs 9... err.. slam. The pipe flat is looking chewed.
Iouri's on our potential podium list... Let's see what he's got. Bit sketchy stale, bs 9, fs 10, sick cab double cork 10 and a crippler. Hectic run and 36.3 is his reward.
Kazu time. He's even done up his jacket... Fs 9, siiiiick mctwist, fs 10, cab 10, sent indy landing way deep. "The McTwist was so sick, I never seen one done like that..." Our crew here like that. 42.1 points. Basic tricks but huge score big here it seems.
Sergio Berger comes a cropper on the first hit. The end.
Japan's Kohei Kudo up now. Indy... and then fucking massive something but slams. Holy cow he got away with that somehow. He's shaken, but thankfully not stirred. Wowzers
Lien, McTwist, fs 7, Haakon, Front 9 and spanks himself good and proper on the coping. This pipe is bucking people.
Scott James from Australia up next. Small tailgrab, big front 9 but then washed out on the flat bottom. The shaping crew will be VERY busy when this heat is done. Holy moly, Scott James is a fricking CHILD! 15, but looks 10. YEAH DUDE!
Owner of possibly the finest haircut in snowboarding, Christophe Schmidt drops in for a nice nose grab, bs 5, fs 10, to approving sounds from the crew here, only to lose his edge on landing. Nice Bavarian topsheet, Schmitty...
US rookie who made it in the team at the last minute, Greg Bretz on course. Massive styled frontside air, bs 9, fs 10, cab 9, fs 9. 36 points. High score, but he made it to the bottom clean.
Fs air, bs 5, fs 9, bs 9, bit overcooked double cork and a slam from Tore Holvik. We're wondering why when so many riders have fallen, why he went for the double there...
Koski in the gate now. Method, fs10, cab 10, fs 9 FUCKING STREAM, alley oop last hit. Some of those tricks may be wrongly named, sorry. 39.3. Experience showed through there
Fs 7, cab double 10, lein, bs 5, fs 9 to finish. Monster. the Finns here have gone nuts for Peetu Piiroinen. That, right there, was a statement of intent. 44 points.
Scotty Lago on course. Nice method, fs 10, haakon, fs 9, weird corked thing to finish. Super smooth run. 39 points, but he don't look happy.
New Zealand's Mitchell Brown says hi to the crowd and shows 'em his bs air, alley oop rodeo, bs 5, fs 10, switch something to flat bottom fall. Not getting too many style points is the consensus here.
Last guy of Heat 2 is Fredrik Austbo... and he pulls a DNS. Guess that means he's hurt himself in training. Hope you're ok dude.
The filming for this event is shit, it must be said. Maybe a bit better than 4 years ago in Bardonecchia, but hire the damn X-Games guys next time for crying out loud.
Canada's Jeff Batchelor on his second run. Bs air, fs 5, bs 9 missed grab, sick fs 9 late cork, and then, unfortunately a fall. He gets to say hi to his moms though
Longo up now. What's he got? cab 10, nose, bs 9, front double 10, switch alley oop bs rodeo. As the French say: Soliiid. 32.4 points.
Markus Malin. Lien, bs 9, double cork 10, haakon, alley oop, bs 5. Crowd like that, we're down too. 36.7 points ain't to be sniffed at at this stage.
Another Canuk, Brett Martin, drops in and... Stalefish, bs 5, fs 10, haakon, fs 9. A bit sketchy but the crowd, predictably, erupts. Hey, Getting through this thing ain't no cakewalk.
Method, fs 10, haakon, fs 7 and that's about that for Daisuke Murakami. He went no way near as big this time round. Dunno if our pacemakers could have taken it it he'd sent it like before...
Justin Lameroux steps up to bat for Canada. Bs 5, fs 9, method, fs 7, haakon and that's all folks. Good beard and 35.4 points. Not sure about that...
iPod's up now and heads into a stale, bs 9, fs 10, cab double 10, front 5 has Iouri shouting 'Fuck Yeah!' as he crosses the finish line. 41.4 and into third.
Kazu's up, looking chill. We like this dude. Fs 9, uber-wanged McTwist, fs 10, cab 10, fs air. Not gonna budge Peetu with that but 42 points is a solid score
Sergio Berger's up now and kick into a fs 10, Cab 7, Mute, bs 7, sw bs7, HANDPLANT! Props for that me ol' Swiss mucker
Big bs air, fs 10, haakon, fs 9, bs 9 cork to finish. That's a decent run, all pretty big from Japan's Kohei Kudo. Uli here reckons she's hot. 37.1 points
Shi Wancheng from China takes his second run. Fs air, big bs 5, fs 7, haakon, fs 9 to ass. Sami here has the right arsehole about Shi's grabs...
Man-child Scott James heads in looking to stomp a good un. Fs9, bs5, fs7, cab 7, alley oop bs rodeo and it the recipient of perhaps the biggest cheer yet. Not enough to get through but damn this kid's one for the future.
Schmidt, repping Germany (or should we say Bavaria?) all by himself takes his second chance with a big fs air, bs 5, fs 10, haakon, sweet front 9. Not good enough unfortunately
Greg Bretz has a stormer and we missed half of it. Fricking technology. Tailbone, bs 9, front double cork 10, and then everything went blank. 4 place for him as it stands
Tore Holvik's fired in for his second run. And it went like this: Fs air, bs 5, fs 9, sick bs 9 late head dip and looked like he went for the double again but couldn't hang on.
The experienced assassin Markku Koski has a bit of a sketchy drop in, method, fs 7 and then something or other to back slide. He's already in the Semis.
Will be interesting to see what Peetu does here. He's definitely straight into the Finals... Huge fs7, cab double 10, lein, 9, cab 10. The boy didn't need to do that, but bugger me it was burlatronic. Nice Work. 45.1 even ups his score.
Scotty Lago. Method, fs 10, Haakon, fs 9, bs 9 and falls.
Bs air, alley oop bs rodeo, bs 5, fs 10 and a slam, and that will be that for New Zealand's Mitchell Brown, and Heat 2 too, for that matter.
So after that bit of snowboarding jazzmtazz, Peetu, Kazu and iPod are straight to the finals, while Greg Bretz, Markku Koski, Scotty Lago, Kohei Kudo, Markus Malin and Justin Lamoureaux get to slug it out again in the semis.
and now, a beer... reaction to all that in a bit.
We've got a while till the Semis kick off again at 02.00 or so. I say 'or so', but it's the Olympics and it's TV so it will be to the second. Oh, here comes the first bit of judging backlash over the wire... apparently there's already a Facebook group 'Korpi Got Robbed' or something like that.
Now that the qualification is over we have some more time to drink and reflect on what we've seen so far. Oh and we had to give our English correspondent a break as he seemed to get carried away too much with the ups and downs of Ben Kilner. Maybe he will get a cameo apperance in the semi-finals report.
As usual the judging takes some time to get used to. Amplitude and style are big factors and some of the riders knew how to play it right. I think Kazu is a good example for this: he showed some really sick style out there, and he deserved the score even though he didn't go all technical. Peetu charged inexplicably hard in his second run and one has to wonder what he will be up to in the finals. Big ups also to our European mate I-Pod, the third rider from heat 2 to make it straight into the finals.
Being dedicated to delivering some mad shit to our readers we had Sami scan the Finnish newspaper websites for anything on the Janne Korpi robbery. And would you believe, apparently the Finnish team appealed against the judging. Surprisingly, they did not get anywhere with it.
Speaking of the Onboard crew: Our French outpost Youri is already biting his nails down in the Southwest and hopes for Ricciardi, Crepel and/or Zebrowski to make it through to the finals.
If we haven't mentioned it yet the pipe does not look to be in the best shape. A lot of snow had accumulated in the flat, and the warm temperatures take away more speed and precision. This will not make things any easier for the twelve lads in the semis... oh, and we just realise things are about to start again soon. This. Is. Exciting.
Our man in Vancouver just told us that Tony Hawk is with him and following the action as well. Big ups to the slim ripper!
Ben Mates dropped in, spun a 9 and slid away.
Justin Lamoureux did ... stuff... we lost the connection... 36.2 points.
Gary Zebrowski... fell on his front 10... 20.1 points.
Markus Malin: Lien Air, Back 9, then... TWO DOUBLES! 42.9p
Ben Kilner fell on front 9! (3.1 points)
Kohei Kudo: back air, method, front 10... (30.6 points)
Mathieu Crepel: Front 10, Cab Double 10, Front 9, Air to Fakie, Switch Back 7. F*** that was a good run! 37.2!?
Scotty Lago dropping... method, front 10, haakon, front 5, back 9. That was huge!41.3 points
We are piping our livestream into Jenny Jones' room in Reno. Olympics madness!
Xiaoye Zeng: Lien air. back 9, front 7, haakon flip, front 9, nice claim at the end. 32.9p
Markku Koski: Backside air, Method, front 7, cab 10, front 9, back 9, topped by an ally oop. "Grabbed everything like every good Finnish man should" (quote Tom). 37.1p
Alouan Ricciardi sporting a moustache like the entire French team (maybe even including their girlfriends?) Frontside air, back 9, double-cork 10, front 7, cab something. Solid 33.2 points for a solid run.
Greg Bretz: tailbone back 9, front double cork, cab 10, front 10. Pretty good. Pretty good.
According to our skype friend Jenny Jones the US uniform looks "like a bad Scottish outfit". The judges might have taken acid: 42.1 points, second place currently.
That was the first run. Ben's last (poor Britannia), Malin first. Two doubles sealed the deal for him. Bretz was judged too high compared to others like Ricciardi...
Props have to go out to 7sky Magazine for providing us with the beer for the night. Cheers Coco - we love you!
And by the way, discussion has been about just how many people from the semis advance to the final. The correct answer is: six!
Current Standings (top 6 semi finals):
1. Markus Malin
2. Greg Bretz
3. Scotti Lago
4. Mathieu Crepel
5. Markku Koski
6. Justin Lamoureux
Our man Danny in Vancouver tells us that you can hear a pin drop whenever a rider drops into the pipe!
Ben Kilner method, front 10, haakon (a bit small), front 9.... and BAILS... he had a good run, but it was not meant to be. The front 10 was killer. 17 points.
Ben Mates: Front 9, back 5, air to fakie - sick one!, haakon, cab 7, biiiig front 7. He did not do anything tech but most tricks were pretty good.27.5 points.
Gary Zebrowski dropping in. Frontside air, back 5, front 10, cab 10, front 9, a bit loose but kinda ok for the conditions. 36.1 points.
Kohei Kudo (the hot one) went massive before... backside air, front 10 nograb, cab 7, front 9, backside 9. Hmmm.... will this be enough for such a tight starting field? Things are getting a little hectic over here. The beer is flowing, the commenting is at its hight, and Jenny is still sharing her thoughts over skype with us (computer turned towards our flatscreen).
Xiaoye Zeng: Lien air, back 9, front 9, cab 10 to face... his arm got stuck in his jacket... poor guy. (16.2)
Alouan Ricciardi: Back 9, frontside doublesomething... now he's out, but is to keep his moustache. (12.8 points)
Justin Lamoureux, our overrated friend from Canada: Backside air, front 7, cab 9, and no idea what he did then. Underrotated and now he is out. (20.2 points)
Markku Koski dropping in: Tailgrab, front 7, cab double cork attempt. But what the heck he already qualified. "He just needs a little more Wu-Tang on his hight" (quote Jenny Jones over our little laptop speakers)
Mathieu Crepel: front 10, haakon, front 9, air-to-fakie, switch alley-oop. Slightly sloppy, therefore only 22.6 points.
Scotti Lago Method, front 10, front 10, haakon, and then lots of oohs and aahs because he launched into a cab double to snow angel in the flat. 16.2 points. Finally Jenny agrees to order herself a gin tonic into her hotel room. About time!
Greg Bretz: double grab in his first air, then front 9, front double cork, cab 10, front 12. FRONT 12! "A little bit helicoptery", according to Jenny. 38 points for the airwolf.
Markus Malin, already winner of the semis. Lein air, back 9, double cork 10 into a cab double cork to the arse. Doesn't matter, this kid can ride. Now get me a beer this typing is hard work! Bring back the Englishman.
Semis are over, these are the results:
1. Markus Malin
2. Greg Bretz
3. Scotti Lago
4. Mathieu Crepel
5. Markku Koski
6. Justin Lamoureux
7. Gary Zebrowski
8. Kohei Kudo
9. Aluan Ricciardi
10. Xiaoye Zeng
11. Ben Mates
12. Ben Kilner
So who is going to the finals then? As mentioned the six best from the semi finals meet the six best riders from the qualifications (3 from each heat). You don't need to do the calculations yourself, here's the lineup:
Danny, our man in Vancouver, had a word with Ben Kilner: "The pipe was amazing - but you had to get the right line." Also, over the days his mom had constantly been asked if she was in Vancouver for the Curling. "No," she said, "I am here for the Kilner!"
And in other news, Jesus, Fabianski. What the hell? Anyway, away from Champions League football and back to snowboarding...
There's training in the pipe and we think we just seen Shaun knock the back out that slippery Cypress ditch. He went about twice as big as anyone else and we're still backing our (in no way bold whatsoever) prediction that White will win his second Olympic gold.
I know she'll kill me for posting this, but here's our friend Jenny Jones, who we've been piping the coverage to through a combination of skype, internet streaming and Sami's retardedly large Sony TV, with her X-Games gold medal that she flashed us just before the Semis started. She'll say that this contest has nothing to do with her but I have some retorts to that. I shall list them now:
1. There's nothing much else going on right now.
2. She's won the X-Games twice in a row and that is just frickin epic, and it's rad to see her and her chunk o' bling.
3. It's great to see the mixture of stoke and gong-farmedness that can be displayed by one man, a few beers and a snus in the corner of a picture.
4. I may be dangerously close to being what could be termed 'drunk in charge of an internet'.
And in Olympics news, White just tore the pipe a new arsehole in training with another jaw dropper of a run.
It's like being in an pill head's nightmare here in the media hub. Someone turn that shit techno off will you. Oh joy, speed skating on the telly. Will we get live TV of the snowboarding? Please, snowboarding, please, stop the techno...
A german manvoice on the telly just said *noise noise noise* snowboarding * noise noise noise*. We figure that means Real TV will be switching from skinsuited bladers to u tubers any. minute. now.
THE FINALS ARE ON!!!
Justin Lamouroux dropping in, backside air, front 7, cab 9, switch back 7, backside 9. "This run would have been good four years ago", says our expert Johannes. 33.8 points.
Markku Koski gets the Finns excited in our media center. Backside air, front 10, cab 10, front 9, back 9, alley-oop rodeo. Sticked it. Good run from Markku. 36.4 points.
Mathieu Crepel launching into a front 10 - pretty big - cab double 10, front double, switch air, switch back 9!!!!!! Holy moly, if he manages to get this run a little cleaner then I don't know what! 25.9 points.
"Ja Scotti!", the Lago with a huge method, a giant front 1o, cab late cork 10 front 5, back 9. That was a good run. Good variation of old-school and nu-doubleshit tricks. He's got good style, son. 42.8 points!! THIS IS GOING TO BE TIGHT FOLKS!
Greg Bretz getting amongst it: after his big air for starters he back 9, front double cork, cab 10, and bailed. 18.3 points.
Markus Malin: Lein air, back 9, double 10, cab double 10, and BAILED. Too bad, but he was oozing with style up till then. 16.7p
I-Pod dropping. He can make Switzerland proud with a nice frontside air, back 9, front double 10, cab double 10, front 5, and a huge claim to finish things off. Lago went bigger, but this was a good performance. 42.4. Second position so far just behind Lago!
Louie Vito front double 10, cab double 10, nosegrab (just), back 9, cab 10. That was a good one. But maybe not better than I-Pod, slightly struggling on his backside sping. But this kid has a few bangers up his sleeve fo sho. 39.1 for now.
Kazu-HERO now droppin.... stalefish, a McTwist straight out of the Wikipedia entry for "überstyle", front 10 monster size, cab 10, and unfortunately bails on his double attempt. This would have been a sick run. 30.5 points - not bad for someone who crashes.
Ryo Aono, nice jacket, nice pant, backside 9, front 10, cab 10, front 9. Efficient like the Germans, but this is not enough to make history. 32.9p
Oh we are rooting so much for Peetu over here. Go Peetu, biiig front 7, cab double 10, lien air, back 9, front 10 to top things off. That's good - but not good enough for the top position. 40.8, third for now.
Shaun White. Huuuuuuuge method, double cork, cab double, front 5, back 9. If we said anyone else went huge... we were wrong. THIS kid knows how to go big. Why he double-grabbed on his second double we don't know. 46.8 points and the biggest claim of the day. But don't count your chicken prematurely.... 46.8 points and a justified lead.
While some shaping is going on we have time to get ourselves together in our ad-hoc media center in Munich. Jenny Jones has been re-connected with us, and she says "Go Scotty, uhhh!", whatever that means. Shaun and Scottie in top positions, followed by I-Pod and Peetu. Go Euros!
We have taken a picture of what we call the media-center. Maybe we will be able to upload it for your viewing pleasure. In the meantime the question is: Can anyone get even near Shaun's performance - let alone beat it?
On the dot 4.50 the second run. Markus Malin with a Lien air, small back 9, front double 10, cab double 10... bailed again. He did not manage to get enough speed and should have played it safe. Oh well. 18.6 points. Still a great show Markus and big ups for your performance.
Greg Bretz tailboning, then back 9, double cork 10 onto the anus. Too bad. This was it for him... no wait a handplant for the gallery. 13.0p
Mathieu Crepel. Front 10, Cab double 10.... ooooooh.... bailed again. See you again in four years time. Thanks for putting on a good show. 8.7points
Kamikazuhiro Kokubo: Frontside air, McTwist, front 10, cab 10, double cork attempt. Once again he did not manage to stomp it properly. His style is great, we like his attitude, and we wanted him to do better. So what? He is still young and I am sure we will see him again in a similar booze-fueled media frenzy. 35.7 p
Ryo Aono, 19 years from Japan starts into his last run with a tailbone, back 9, front 10 (massive!), cab 10, front 9 and fricking bailed. It was brilliant, but not good enough. 29.1 p
Woah it's getting late. Five o'clock. But luckily there's Justin Lamoureux to chear us up. Backside air, front 7, cab 10, front 9 and stuff. Really, his riding is not good enough. Strange he should go through to the finals. But the crowd loves him. Fair enough, he clearly gave his best. 35.7 points.
Markku Koski getting at it. Backside air, front 10, cab 7, stalefish, backside air, nosegrab. That was it for him. Somehow lost his speed after the second hit. No medal for him either... 25.0 points.
Louie Vito: Does he look better in his Dancing with the Stars outfit or in his US snowboard uniform? Tough call. Tough also his run: double cork 10, cab double cork 10, stalefish, back 5, front 12? 39.4 points, because he lacked amplitude.
Go Peetu. "He does know how to do it in a big way!" Front 7, double cork 10, lien, back 9, front 10. It was big as usual, we were hoping for a second double rotation... SECOND PLACE for now! 45.0p
Iouri: front air, back 9, double 10... bailed. That's it for him. He will stay in fourth position.
Scotti Lago dropping, things got too crazy over here, backside air, front 10, cab double cork 10, and then bails.The Finns are celebrating Peetu's silver medal! Congratulations Peetu, congratulations Scotti on bronze and congratulations....
...SHAUN WHITE for winning gold again. His last run consisted of a backside air, double cork, cab double, front five, and the double mctwist 12. He did not have to do it, he put on a show, kudos to him for stomping it, and that was just outstanding. 48.4 points. Another gold medal for him.
We just realised we kicked the power cable out of the laptop that connected Jenny with our world. She missed the last three runs. Oops.
There was some dubious judging today, but for the top three it was spot on. Currently nobody can beat Shaun in the pipe. But hey, Peetu scored Silver. How good is that?
And did we promise to post a picture of our media center? Here you go: