Angry Hirano demands better judging

Olympic snowboard champion says riders not being scored ‘accurately’ despite ‘putting their lives on the line’

AFP February 12, 2022


New Olympic snowboard halfpipe champion Ayumu Hirano says that riders are "putting their lives on the line" but not being scored "accurately", calling for better judging.

The dreadlocked Japanese beat retiring legend Shaun White and a host of others to win gold in the men's halfpipe on Friday, but he had to come from behind on his final run to do it.

Hirano said he was "angry" and "didn't understand" why his jaw-dropping second run did not put him into first place, and on Saturday he called for wholesale changes to the judging system.

"We want to have sound standards and I think we should look into exactly what the judges were looking at," said the 23-year-old.

"For the athletes, they're putting their lives on the line, they're giving it their all. So for the riders, I think some steps need to be taken to address this issue regarding the judges."

Hirano called for a "more robust system" and said he thinks judging standards are "not established yet".

He said snowboarding's sense of freedom is "what makes it attractive" but a more rigid structure is needed for competitions.

"The wow factor, how you can touch people through your performance, that's important too," he said.

"But at the Games, in terms of the amplitude, the grabs, we need to measure those accurately and assess those and score those accurately."

Hirano was competing at his third Winter Games in Beijing, after winning silver at the 2014 and 2018 Olympics.

He also competed in skateboarding at the Tokyo Games last summer.


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