As dozens of athletes have taken to the halfpipe in Beijing, they’ve dazzled followers with their jaw-dropping heights and dizzying flips. However in competitors, nobody is watching them extra carefully than the six judges, and a seventh head decide, who amongst them decide if the athletes land on the rostrum.
“Halfpipe is about general impression,” stated Nick Alexakos, the snowboard and freestyle snowboarding occasion director at U.S. Ski & Snowboard.
It’s removed from easy.
Judges will search for particular traits, generally referred to with the acronym PAVED: development, amplitude, selection, execution and problem. Right here’s what which means:
Development: Judges search for new tips and new combos, both a brand new twist on an outdated commonplace or a very new mixture. “Lots of people are doing the identical tips in their very own distinctive style — however is it a unique seize?” Alexakos stated. “Was there one thing totally different that makes them distinctive?”
Amplitude: The upper you go, the tougher the trick might be, Alexakos stated. And the extra rotations, the larger the amplitude. “To enter the pipe wall at that pace, to get that amp, it’s distinctive and particular,” he stated. The sides of the pipe itself are about 22 toes excessive, and a few riders can soar 20 toes previous that. “Amp is all the time a kind of issues that wows the gang,” he stated. “And it’s rewarded.”
Selection: Judges have a look at the choice of tips and grabs, and the route of spin. “You would possibly be capable to do a front-side double cork higher than anybody, but it surely could be your solely trick,” he stated, including that “you’ll very hardly ever see a trick repeated in the identical run.”
Execution: How do athletes carry out the maneuver? Judges search for stability, fluidity and management.
Problem: Are athletes linking their most troublesome tips collectively or performing them individually? Are they performing just one main troublesome trick, or is each trick troublesome? “You will note them linking combos,” Alexakos stated. “It has gotten to a degree the place the extent of using is insane. They’re all multidirectional.”
Every athlete has 5 to 6 tips, and judges use a scale of 1 to 100 to assign ranks. A rating of 100 “is one of the best run of the day, but it surely doesn’t essentially imply perfection,” Alexakos stated. Every snowboarder’s excessive rating and low rating are dropped, and the remaining runs are averaged.
The scores, Alexakos stated, are supposed to rank the athletes and set the extent of competitors. “So what was a 90 yesterday in halfpipe, the identical one may not be a 90 immediately,” he stated.
There aren’t any standardized deductions, however judges deduct extra for instability or a full-out fall than for a hand drag.
If a run is shut, judges will analyze it trick by trick, Alexakos stated, “and generate a rating based mostly on that — what stood out that was higher or worse, and rating from there.” He added, “They’re attempting to set a variety, and it’s a vary that’s constant all through the competitors.”
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