The Canadians helped put the inaugural Olympic snowboard slopestyle competition in the spotlight at Sochi with some controversial trash talking, but when it came to actually performing, the team did not live up to expectations.
There were hopes of winning three or even four medals, including one gold. But the team ended up with one, a bronze to Mark McMorris on Saturday. Medal contenders Max Parrot and Sébastien Toutant finished fifth and ninth respectively while the main hope on the women’s team, Spencer O’Brien, came 12 on Sunday.
“I’m really disappointed right now,” O’Brien said through tears after the race. “I had a really hard year coming back from some injuries. I was really happy to be riding the way I was here…Just after watching [bronze medalist Mark McMorris] yesterday I was really inspired to just try really hard and bring home a medal and I went for my hardest run and it didn’t work out today. I’m really disappointed and sad that I let Canada down.”
It’s a long way from a few days ago when Parrot and Toutant hit the headlines with some brash comments on Twitter, criticizing American superstar Shaun White for dropping out of the event. The comments became something of an Internet sensation and the Canadians came under fire from some for showing a lack of sportsmanship. All three also took issue with some of the judging, questioning the scoring and the system used at the Olympics where judges don’t talk to athletes before the event.
On Sunday Head Coach Leo Addington tried to put everything in perspective. He said the overall performance of the team will be reviewed, but he said winning one bronze was an achievement.
“As a team we all look at our individual parts and see how everybody did,” he said. “And we take pride in getting this far and what we have accomplished and the things that we have done.”
When asked if the team fell short of its target he added: “Well, it is a medal which is good and we have to look at that and focus on the positives there. It’s snowboarding, it’s slopestyle and it’s the first time in [the Olympics]. We had the potential but we’re happy with our bronze and we’re happy for Mark and we’re proud of all our guys how they did either way.”