Hit by a Pitch

Winter X Games = lame reality programming

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I’m really disappointed in the Winter X Games, which sucks because I love the Winter X Games.

Last night’s snowboard big air featured four athletes, three from Norway (holla!) and one from the U.S. Two Norwegians went head-to-head and one Norwegian went head-to-head against the American in an elimination round.

I’m not an expert by any means, but I thought the Norwegian, Mikkel Bang, performed WAY better than the American, Travis Rice. However, because the results were determined only by audience text messages, Rice advanced, with 92% of the audience voting in his favor.

In the gold medal round, Rice went up against Norway’s Torstein Horgmo (best name ever, by the way), who won gold last year. Horgmo bobbled his first landing but nailed the second, which the announcers referred to as a “textbook” switch backside 1260. Rice did a double back rodeo 10 and landed his first and dragged his hand on the second landing. Although Rice’s jump was exciting to watch (flips are fun!), my non-expert opinion had Horgmo winning the gold. Audience members voted in Rice’s favor, 78% to 22%.

I’m not going to whine because the guy I thought should win (Horgmo) didn’t win or that the guy I thought should advance to the gold medal round (Bang) didn’t advance. The problem is that it’s really clear what happened in each round — the audience, consisting of mostly Americans watching an event that occurred in the U.S., voted for the American. There is no way in hell, for example, that in any universe, Rice outperformed Bang 92% to 8%.

That’s just weak, and frankly, it makes us look kind of stupid. No disrespect to Travis Rice, but nobody should win a gold medal in the X Games just because he’s American.

Normally in big air, judges, who know the sport and know how to objectively judge jumps, give points for several factors, including difficulty, amplitude, style, and landing. If I recall correctly, last year’s big air competition was decided by judges and audience text participation. Personally, I’d rather have only judges determine the winner, but a determination by judges and the audience makes much more sense than allowing the audience only — a bunch of people who may or may not know jack about judging snowboarding — decide who wins the competition.

I really hope the X Games powers that be change this next year. I don’t see the point of watching what amounts to reality-show bullshit. It’s not like the X Games are the Olympics or anything, but the athletes who work very hard to prepare and put on a good show deserve to have their efforts taken seriously and be judged by people who know what they’re doing.

Written by Tracy

January 23rd, 2009 at 11:08 am

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  1. Man I feel you. While I am American, I’m an avid snowboarder and followed the X games. It was so clear that Torstein outperformed Travis. It’s really disgusting that the X Games would turn into fucking “American Idol: Snowboarding Edition”. The X games really fucked up. Anyone who snowboards or even follows snowboarding would have voted for Torstein. Unfortunately, the majority of the audience was just stupid people who don’t know shit about snowboarding and who think that “flips are fun”. They’ve all heard of Travis Rice or voted for him just b/c he’s american. I don’t know. I agree w/ you 100% though the X Games this year are bullshit.


    24 Jan 09 at 6:30 pm

  2. Totally agree. The Winter X games this year blew. I went on Saturday, and got to say that the judging was rigged. Shaun White won superpipe just for showing up, Kevin Pearce’s runs were way better. Teter was screwed on points… X Games and their sponsors had already decided who was going to win before the competition even started this year. They had a favorite athlete in each event that you saw lots of videos about, promos, and the announcers talked about them constantly. I should not know the name Levi Lavalle, the dude didn’t do crap in any event. The only two people that lived up to the hype were Simon Dumont and possibly Torah Bright. They need new judges, new format, and less bullshit next year.

    It also took us 2 hours to get back to the car due to a major bussing clusterfuck. No part of this event went right.


    26 Jan 09 at 11:47 am

  3. the winter x games came up off sucking the blood of
    the ordinary hard working snowboarder man. giving us what we wanted at first, which was a fair game. and now that they got fat off our blood they want to be the corporate cosmococcic shit eating devils they always were. and now when we say america we have to say corporate america and if we dont want to say that then we should say: low life pandering whoremonger bitch.

    kevin schuman

    6 Feb 09 at 3:14 pm

  4. [...] Friday, 5:15 p.m.: snowboard best method (I’m recommending this only because it’s a new event this year and might be interesting; the winner will be selected by text message voting, which I think is lame.) [...]

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