COURTENAY, B.C. – A Vancouver Island Olympian has penned an article questioning the governance of her sport.
Alert Bay-born Spencer O’Brien competed in the women’s snowboard slopestyle and big air events. She placed 22nd in the slopestyle, and ninth in the big air.
Since the games have wrapped, O’Brien has published an article on The Players’ Tribune, a forum where athletes can share their thoughts about a myriad of issues.
O’Brien’s piece, We Deserve Better, questions certain decisions that were made at the 2018 Games in light of rugged weather conditions.
During the games, qualifiers for the women’s event were cancelled because of high winds. O’Brien’s article calls out decisions taken by the Federation Internationale de Ski (FIS) in light of the conditions in Pyeongchang.
The FIS has been in charge of the qualifications process for women’s snowboarding events since snowboarding was added to the Olympics in 1998.
“I’ve always felt snowboarding should be run by snowboarders, by an organization that gives its full attention and efforts to our sport,” O’Brien states in the article.
She said because of the conditions, only nine women landed a full run, out of 52 competitors. “In a quality three-run final you will typically see a landed run from every athlete. 43 is an absurd number of incompletions,” she said in the article.
Asked about the concerns raised in the article, Comox Olympic gold medallist Cassie Sharpe supported O’Brien.
“For the women’s slopestyle competition, I think it was unfair a little bit, just because it was hard for them to showcase what they have been working so hard to achieve,” she said.
“They put in so much time, all those athletes put in time and energy to make it to the Olympics and to be ran when the weather just wasn’t, frankly safe, it was a little heartbreaking not to see some of the biggest runs and the biggest tricks go down on that day.”
O’Brien’s article can be viewed via The Players’ Tribune at this link.
-With files from James Wood