Seamus O’Connor, who will compete for Ireland in the snowboard halfpipe and slopestyle events at Sochi 2014, has raised concerns over the safety of the slopestyle course at Rosa Khutor Extreme Park.
O’Connor claimed the course was “pretty dangerous” after his first training runs today and urged other athletes to call for improvements to the course before the slopestyle competition gets under way.
Queensbury’s Jamie Nicholls is part of the four-strong Great Britain snowboard slopestyle team in Sochi and tested the jumps out for himself this morning.
After seeing them up close and personal for the first time yesterday, he tweeted: “These jumps are honestly the highest jumps I ever saw! Crazy.”
Sixteen-year-old O’Connor said: “They overbuilt the jumps because they were anticipating that the snow would melt. At the moment the riders are not happy. The rails up top are too close. It’s pretty dangerous at the moment.
"I think it’s definitely going to be a problem for the women. It’s pretty gnarly for them. We may see some injuries.
“The riders need to speak up about the conditions. The rails can’t be fixed but they can fix the jumps.”
GB Snowboard head coach Hamish McKnight played down the concerns, however Norwegian snowboarder Torstein Horgmo, who was among the favourites to medal in the discipline, had to be taken to hospital in a neck brace after falling while practising on a rail portion of the course.
McKnight said: "The course is the biggest of the year but, from our point of view, it's doable, it's rideable.
"The feedback from the riders went back to the coursemakers about the rails and the jumps, and I think they're going to look at making some changes. But from our side, it's definitely workable."