Sochi-2014-round-up

The snowboarding at Sochi 2014 is now over - the freestyle events anyway - and we have to say that we're pretty damn exhausted.

The snowboarding that has gone down over the last week or so has been intense, dramatic, unexpected but overall, incredibly entertaining to watch, and while not everyone agrees with Olympic snowboarding being a thing, it has to be said that people will be talking about what went down for a long time to come (maybe even for 4 years...).

It's been a long and hectic ride and we thought it would be a good idea to round up what happened in each of the events and compile some opinions from key voices in the industry.

So without further ado, here's our official round up of Sochi 2014:

[part title="Sage Kotsenburg (and Style) Wins Men's Slopestyle"]

Russia Winter Olympics February 8,
during the 2014 Winter Olympics Slopestyle semi finals SnowboardeR Seppe Smits  on the rails on top section of course

The snowboarding at Sochi 2014 all kicked off with men's slopestyle.

While the course was initially criticised by riders and subsequently blown out of proportion by the press, it has to be said that on the day, it appeared to be riding perfectly.

If you'd asked us immediately before finals who would win, we're sad to say that Sage Kotsenburg would not have been the name uttered from our mouths. But the run that he put down - including a cab 1260 holy crail, front 1080 rocket and backside 1620 Japan, was insane.

The judges were clearly favouring creativity, flatspins and 'spoice' in their scoring, with some runs that included two triple corks (Max Parrot's), only being good enough for 5th place. Their decisions caused quite the debate online and we published an opinion piece on the situation here.

The final outcome though, with Stale Sandbech and Mark McMorris in second and third was ultimately a great one for snowboarding: with style and creative flair triumphing over hucked mute-grabbed triple corks - something that many, including some of the riders themselves (Sage too!), had been saying needed to change urgently.

Todd Richards, a former Olympian and all-round voice on all things snowboarding was hyped on the result:

Summing it up succinctly with:

[part title="Jamie Anderson Wins Women's Slopestyle"]

The following day it was the ladies' turn to step up to the big-ass slopestyle course.

Of the four Olympic events that we watched, this was probably the final that got us the most hyped to go snowboarding. All of the girls absolutely killed it on the course, and it was great to see the slow, stylish spins that have long been absent in the men's contests.

Once again, style prevailed, with Jamie Anderson - one of the most dominant, controlled and stylish female slopestyle snowboarders around, bossing it on the day. Her switch back 540, as well as second place finisher Enni Rukajarvi's, were things of absolute beauty. What we wouldn't give to be able to do that trick as well as those ladies can... It was also rad to see the UK's Jenny Jones claim a well deserved Olympic medal after being a force on the international women's slopestyle scene for years now.

Sina Candrian is also worthy of a mention for stomping the first ever frontside 1080 in a ladies contest. Massive, massive props to her for raising the bar of women's snowboarding on the biggest stage out there.

If there was one thing that we took away from the women's slopestyle finals, it was that today's crop of female rippers are doing themselves proud, and women's snowboarding is in very, very good hands.

Nike global team manager and all-round boss John Weaver knows it:

[part title="Iouri Podladtchikov Wins Men's Halfpipe"]

The men's halfpipe finals had more suspense and drama than that Restaurant scene in The Godfather.

The halfpipe was in awful condition owing to the warm weather in Sochi and every single rider was forced to adapt.

Shaun White stacked his first run, 15 year old Ayumu Hirano went enormous, Iouri Podladtchikov bossed his second run with his very own Yolo flip to take the lead, and Shaun White couldn't stick his second run, finishing up in 4th place.

As Shaun White's contest to lose, it was the result that literally nobody expected, and we have to wonder how much the state of the halfpipe came into play. But ultimately on the day, Iouri got the better of the pipe and Shaun couldn't live up to the enormous pressure on his shoulders.

What we witnessed, in our eyes anyway, was the beginning of a changing of the guard - with little riders like Ayumu Hirano cementing the fact that he will be a BIG part of the future of halfpipe riding. We can only speculate where Shaun will go from here.

Once again, Todd Richards spoke truth:

[part title="Kaitlyn Farrington Wins Women's Halfpipe "]

Everyone loves an Underdog and Kaitlyn Farrington was a definite one going into the women's halfpipe finals at Sochi 2014.

Once again the stunt ditch was in pretty rubbish condition and 80% of the ladies were struggling with speed. When finals rolled around it was all about four women: Hannah Teter, Kaitlyn Farrington, Torah Bright and Kelly Clark.

As the defending gold medallist, and one of the most stylish riders to have ever graced the halfpipe, Torah Bright was looking hungry for gold all evening. But both her and Kelly Clark - who has dominated women's pipe riding for yonks, both fell in run one, leaving the podium wide open for Kaitlyn to slip up onto.

Both Kaitlyn and Torah put down amazingly stylish and tech second runs, with Torah opening up with the SICKEST mctwist, and air to fakie, with Kaitlyn sticking a sick air to fakie on the backside wall before launching into a crazy-tech switch backside 720 to post the higher score of the two.

Kelly Clark gave her everything in run two but succumbed to a sketchy frontside 1080 and finished up in third.

Debates will probably rage over whether Kaitlyn or Torah should have taken gold on the night but we were just hyped to see some progressive, stylish women's snowboarding. Torah remains the queen of the pipe in our eyes.

And with that ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, we are officially Olympic'd out. Time to go ride some powder and do vitelli turns under slow signs. Who's joining?