Might slopestyle’s first Olympics have been its last?
Ski and snowboard slopestyle have “the potential” to be dropped from the Olympics if they don’t lessen “unacceptably high” injury rates, said an International Olympic Committee official who monitors Olympian injuries.
“Right now the injury rate as it was in Sochi was too high to be a sport that we have in the Olympics,” said Lars Engebretsen, head of scientific activities at the IOC’s medical and scientific department, according to The Associated Press.
Engebretsen said ski and snowboard slopestyle injury rates were “much higher than any other sport in Sochi.”
Shaun White pulled out of snowboard slopestyle one day before the competition, citing injury risk. Another medal threat, Norway’s Torstein Horgmo, broke a collarbone in a training crash in Sochi and withdrew. Canadian favorite Mark McMorris suffered a broken rib at the Winter X Games on Jan. 25 and won bronze in Sochi behind American Sage Kotsenburg.
“I can say what I feel: That sport should change, otherwise we shouldn’t have it. But the IOC may not follow that,” Engebretsen told the AP in Monaco, calling slopestyle “problematic.” “Something has to be done with that sport.”
Another new Olympic sport, ski halfpipe, had seen more major injuries among its elite competitors in the months and years leading into the Olympics, but Engebretsen focused on slopestyle.
“Slopestyle is exciting,” Engebretsen told the AP. “But it’s just become, right now anyway, too exciting.”