In the 2018 Olympics in PyeongChang, Team USA has won five Olympic medals in snowboarding. Snowboarding has only existed since 1965. Since then it seems to have taken over the world. Snowboarding is one of the main sports in the Olympics with several events including Giant Parallel Slalom, Halfpipe, Parallel Slalom, Slopestyle, Big Air, and Snowboard Cross. The halfpipe definitely stands out though, as Team USA has dominated at the event. The other countries though, have all sent their best athletes as well, to make a competition worth watching.
Today the halfpipe is one of the most popular Winter Olympic sports, but how did it get there? Modern snowboarding was first developed in 1965 by Sherman Poppen who attached two skis together for his daughters. By 1980, snowboarding was a nationwide activity. Snowboarding eventually became so popular that it was introduced to the 1998 Nagano Winter Olympics with two events, the Giant Slalom and the Halfpipe. This year, some of the best snowboarders in the world have come to PyeongChang to find out who can win the gold.
The halfpipe has been in the Olympics for 20 years. The halfpipe is a U-shaped course where you execute multiple tricks on both sides. The goal is to successfully do the most tricks and land with grace and style. There is a team of six judges that score you from 1 to 100. They score you in several categories including, amplitude, difficulty, variety, execution, and progression. There is a qualification round and a final round. In the qualification round you have to get into the top 12 to compete in the final round. In the final round the top three will get a medal. Since 1998, there are certain athletes who made the event more fun to watch.
Twelve years ago, Shaun White was a 19 year-old kid at his first Olympics. Today he is at his fourth Olympics and just won his third gold medal. Shaun White was introduced to snowboarding when he was six years old after following his brother to a YMCA. He then fell in love with the sport. His parents would drive up to the mountains on the weekend so he could practice and they would sleep in their van. He was also very good at skateboarding since it is very similar to snowboarding. He was discovered by Tony Hawk and started competing in the X-Games. In PyeongChang most of his competitors were way younger than him so Shaun had to work twice as hard as them to get in shape so he could win the gold. In his last run he actually scored a 97.75 which is 2.25 points from perfect. Shaun White has worked hard to become one of the best snowboarders of all time and a major part of the 2018 Winter Olympics.
Every four years, countries come together and compete to find the best athletes in the world. Today our world is always fighting and never comes together. One way to bring countries together is competition. It may sound odd that competition brings people together, but these are some of the best athletes in the world and they can bond over their sport. When they get to the arena, the last thing in their head is political tension. They are focused on representing their team as having the best athletes. The Olympic founder saw the games as a way to bring political enemies together in just the 16 days that each country is there. So we should try to come together to fulfill his vision.
The halfpipe has brought some of the biggest names in snowboarding around. It is definitely difficult but those who work at it hard enough to go to the Olympics would tell you that all the work is worth it. The games are almost over but these athletes cannot and will not stop working as hard as they can to show that they are the best. So in another four years there will be a few more athletes to watch out for.