I have been competing professionally for 20 years and I have never seen snowboarding progress faster than the past 4 years. Both the men’s and women’s fields are stacked and the riders are working harder than ever, progressing the sport we love to a whole new level. It’s impressive and inspiring. Up until recently, I find snowboarding to have been quite male-dominated, but with the rapid progression these past years, women are finally starting to grab both more attention in the industry and from more mainstream channels.
Being a four-time Olympian, I know that the road to the Olympics can be hard and challenging and sometimes not even that fun... I've always told myself that if I’m not having fun, it’s not any point doing it and I try my best to stay true to these words. Yet. I would lye a little if I say I don’t care about the “end goal” as I believe it’s in our heritage as humans to celebrate when we receive some kind of a reward. Needless to say, when you invest so much energy and resources into something and qualify for the big show, the least you expect is to get a fair opportunity to perform on an elite, world stage.
As I stepped into a new role as a coach during this event, I was really excited to watch the women of snowboarding put on the show I know they are all capable of. From my own experience, I know how fun it is when you finally get to showcase what you have been working on for so long. My intention in my new position was to be the best support I could possibly be. Not just for the rider I am helping, but for anyone that might need an extra hand in the heat of the moment. These ladies also happen to be my very good friends, that I have laughed and cried with, competed against and high fived a million times before I dropped into my runs.
It has always brought me feelings of fulfillment when I can help uplift others, as they set course for their goals and dreams. This time the Olympic dream was ready to become reality for these ladies, who are working so hard and putting their bodies on the line to progress snowboarding. It was their turn and opportunity to play on the worlds biggest stage for sports and to thrive in their element
Unfortunately, we did not get to see the women of snowboarding thrive in their element of slopestyle in #pyeongchang2018 ... rather they were trying to hold on and survive. For sure they all made the best of it and more!! I was so impressed by how amazing everyone handled the challenging conditions, physically, mentally, spiritually... The bad part is that the ladies did not get a fair chance to showcase anything close to their best riding, which they so respectfully deserved.
Honestly, if it was me competing, I would not want to ride in those conditions. I would hope I had the confidence to say no, which can be tricky when you are under that kind of pressure. Add in emotional attachments, fear, stress, expectations, nerves and someone telling you that they might just cancel the whole thing... Then you got yourself a recipe for chaos, confusion, bad decision making and sometimes even apathy... It was pretty obvious that things were not working, yet the show kept going on.