No Free Rides
The inaugural World Championship slopestyle events were stunning to watch,
providing excitement and jaw-dropping performances. And if the slopestyle and ski
halfpipe at Deer Valley and Park City are any example of what these new disciplines
have to offer, the International Olympic Committee need not debate too long about in-
cluding them in the 2014 Sochi Olympic Winter Games. They provide exhilaration and
superb television opportunities. Furthermore, both disciplines seem to fit IOC Presi-
dent Jacques Rogge’s wishes for sports that appeal to younger audiences.
While the U.S. medaled in both of the up-and-coming disciplines, it was the Canadians
who dominated the Freestyle Championships, capturing 16 medals including an amaz-
ing eight of 12 gold medal possibilities. The visitors from up north put on nothing less
than a dazzling show.
What these Championships did point out was the lack of a formal U.S. ski cross pro-
gram. In what could be called a home game, Team USA fielded one independent male
ski cross participant, John Teller from the ASCA, who wound up a very respectable fifth.
Still, not one U.S. woman qualified independently to participate. It is time for USSA to
climb aboard and get a program started again, or the medal hunt in Sochi will go
to those who have legitimate programs in place. Yes, it is a matter of allocating
resources, but this sport should have a strong television following during the 2014
Games while other, older disciplines will have less so.
JONATHAN SELKOWI TZ/AGENCE ZOOM