Click For: Olympic Halfpipe Photo Gallery .

Click For: Olympic Halfpipe Ceremonies Photo Gallery .

A few facts helped guide the fate of the 2002 men’s Olympic halfpipe event, held February 11 in Park City, Utah: America is the birthplace of snowboarding, “boo” means the same thing in any language, and snowboarders are derelicts with any amount of precious metal hanging around their necks.

Fact-number one: the American halfpipe team made the sport’s pioneers proud by riding a mean contest game. The first U.S. rider to drop in was California’s Tommy Czeschin, who qualified easily for the finals in second place. Ross Powers, JJ Thomas, and Danny Kass all took their time getting spots in the finals, but second-run qualification results were stacked: Thomas, Kass, Powers in seventh through ninth, respectively.

The temperature really warmed up for the afternoon, and as the looker’s right-hand wall baked in the sun, rider after rider was claimed by soupy conditions in the finals. Several Europeans took themselves out of contention this way, including Norwegian Daniel Franck, as well as Finnish Markku Koski–who was going huge and throwing mean 1080s but was caught up on some loose snow on an air to fakie.

Nearly everything in the finals’ first run was overshadowed by Ross Powers. He did his normal run–McTwist, a 720, and a backside three into a switch McTwist–but I don’t know if I’ve ever seen him so on it. His straight airs were gigantic, and his tricks were dialed. “I think that was my biggest backside air, ever,” he said about his first hit. Danny Kass did one of the most technical runs of the day. There wasn’t a rotation he didn’t deliver–an inverted 720, a corked 900, a cab 1080 melon–he had it all. “I owned the 1080 today,” Danny confirmed. “A couple other riders had it on lease, but I owned it.” And JJ Thomas’ run, this was the style of riding the judges were looking for: amplitude–those McTwists off the first hit, you know what I’m talking about–and of course, charisma.

Fact-number two–when an entire stadium full of spectators, only a small percentage of who actually snowboard, boo the judging–something’s wrong. I’d be lying if I didn’t report how completely strange the day’s scoring was, and how a number of people got totally robbed in the worst possible way. “I slam and still get better than Risto Mattila and Michalchuk?” said Markku Koski after his first qualification run. “The judging’s fucked.”

Among the injustices was Japanese competitor Takaharu Nakai, who did a huge McTwist-to-Crippler combo, went insanely big throughout his whole run, and even delivered a 900 at the bottom. Here was a run that was both big and technical, yet the judges seemed relatively unimpressed. Tommy Czeschin could have also podiumed–really stepping things up by adding a cab 1080 to his standard competition run. And we can’t forget the Italian stallion Giacomo Kratter, who’s explosive run included dropping in switch to a monster Haakon-flip off the first hit, and a corked 720-to-900 combination. Competitors always bitch about judging, but the crowd actually had something to say about all three of these riders’ low scores–the judges should be embarrassed by that alone.

The third fact, the one about snowboarders being derelicts, well, that had something to do with a party at the U.S.A. house and a missed appearance on the next morning’s Today Show, but you’ll just have to use your imagination.

With the notoriety gleaned from earning the first American gold medal and the first all-American sweep of the Games, snowboarding will probably be forever changed by the past few days’ events. But let this serve as a reminder to all readers: don’t forget that our sportt was legitimate long before the skiing federation saw us as a financial opportunity, and all the international television coverage and celebrity face-time can’t suck the soul out of snowboarding if we don’t let it.

Mens Final Results

1 USA Powers, Ross 46.10 32.00 46.10
2 USA Kass, Danny 42.50 41.50 42.50
3 USA Thomas, J.J. 33.20 42.10 42.10
4 Italy Kratter, Giacomo 34.90 42.00 42.00
5 Japan Nakai, Takaharu 38.30 40.70 40.70
6 USA Czeschin, Tommy 40.60 40.50 40.60
7 Finland Sorsa, Heikki 36.80 40.40 40.40
8 Finland Koski, Markku 39.00 25.40 39.00
9 Canada Andrew, Trevor 30.30 38.60 38.60
10 Norway Franck, Daniel 29.20 37.40 37.40
11 Sweden Sterner, Magnus 36.60 17.90 36.60
12 Germany Michaelis, Jan 0.00 0.20 0.20
13 Switzerland Brunner, Therry 36.00 37.70 37.70
14 Norway Christiansen, Kim 23.30 37.00 37.00
15 Switzerland Hitz, Marcel 23.80 35.90 35.90
16 Finland Mattila, Risto 35.70 34.30 34.30
17 Poland Sasiadek, Marek 18.80 34.00 34.00
18 Switzerland Simmen, Gian 34.80 33.50 33.50
19 Japan Murakami, Daisuke 19.40 32.70 32.70
20 Germany Hoffmann, Xaver 32.30 32.60 32.60
21 France Vassoney, Sebastien 13.50 32.10 32.10
22 Canada Carpentier, Brett 29.70 31.60 31.60
23 Spain Fernandez, Iker 31.00 31.10 31.10
24 Sweden Karlsson, Stefan 29.80 30.40 30.40
25 Sweden Johansson, Tomas 32.10 30.10 30.10
26 Canada Migneault, Daniel 19.20 28.70 28.70
27 Canada Michalchuk, Mike 34.80 28.60 28.60
28 France Collomb-Patton, Jonathan 23.90 28.50 28.50
29 Japan Miyawaki, Kentaro 13.60 27.00 27.00
30 Finland Ojala, Tuomo 28.20 23.30 23.30
31 Norway Lunn, Halvor Skramstad 30.00 21.70 21.70
32 Germany Tyrkas, Daniel 22.50 21.40 21.40
33 France Justafre, Mathieu 16.00 12.20 12.20

Click For: Olympic Halfpipe Photo Gallery .

Click For: Olympic Halfpipe Ceremonies Photo Gallery .