Olympic Blog

Whacked Out, Pot-Smoking, Extreme-Sports Athletes

(Saturday Feb 14, 2010) If you ever get nostalgic for the old days of snowboarding, when it was thought of as a passing fad for neer-do-wells, I suggest you come to the Olympic Games. The stereotypes and preconceptions are alive and well … among the media anyway.

There was a press conference recently where a reporter felt compelled to ask Lago whether snowboarding is a legitimate sport. This is here at our fourth Olympic Winter Games. Seriously, what rocks did these people crawl out from under? Then there’s a story here about the Olympic “fringe” sport of snowboarding from Minnesota of all places. Minnesota—you know us! This is the best quote: “White’s image goes against what many snowboard nonfollowers tend to think about those who compete in the sport, said Bob Dorfman, of San Francisco advertising agency Baker Street Partners. “He seems to be wholesome and doesn’t seem to be a whacked out, pot-smoking, extreme-sports athlete … “ Really? That’s what the “snowboard nonfollowers” think of us? If they’re not talking about snowboarding in general, they are talking about Shaun White specifically. His hair—it’s a red mane, it flows, it’s shocking. The topic of his nicknames—the animal, The Flying Tomato (so 2006), and Red Zeppelin. Potential trick names for the Double McTwist 12 with Whitesnake, Tomahawk, and double eagle frequently referenced. We figure this is a smoke and mirrors tactic so everyone can continue to report on snowboarding at the Olympics without having a clue as to what is going on—real quote from a New York reporter—“My usual beat is football, but I’m covering snowboarding.” Did he really just say that? The rain yesterday was fairly oppressive, most of the riders laid low. The pipe team moved out of the Olympic Village and into a US Snowboard pipe team house closer to Cypress—Shaun has his own place with one of his sponsors, and Hannah is staying with her family. We did a little nightlife research last night hitting up a time capsule party hosted by legendary snowboard photographer Trevor Graves and Nike at The Boardroom, where we ran into the Canadian snowboard scene. The party was just outside of downtown and there was no sign of any Olympic chaos. A short taxi ride later back into downtown, we ran into the entire world, and confirmed that yes, the bars do stay open until 3:00 a.m. in Vancouver, and people are partying their faces off in the streets … even if it is pouring rain.

We’re headed up to pipe and boardercross practice today, it’s sunny! Real talk tonight about the conditions at Cypress. Follow us on twitter.com/twsnow