Great Britain coach Pat Sharples has defended the ski and snowboard slopestyle events amid rumours they could be dropped from future Winter Olympics due to concerns the sport is too dangerous.
Lars Engebretsen, the head of scientific activities at the International Olympic Committee, is reported to have suggested the injury rate in the slopestyle events at the recent Games in Sochi was too high and therefore they should be banned from 2018 onwards.
Bradford rider Jamie Nicholls finished sixth in the men’s snowboard competition, while Jenny Jones won a bronze medal among the women – Britain’s first-ever podium placing on snow.
The loss of the discipline would certainly be a blow to Nicholls as he looks to qualify for the 2018 Winter Games in South Korea.
But Sharples believes the events formed a large part of the interest at Sochi and that all winter sports carry a certain level of risk.
“Slopestyle is an extreme sport and it is the first time it has ever been shown in the Olympics,” he said.
“Every discipline in the Winter Olympics can be dangerous and surely there have been a lot more accidents, crashes and injuries in stuff like ski-cross and border-cross.
“At the end of the day, that is a part of what we do and a risk you take. I really can’t see it being dropped at all. It was too big a part of the Winter Olympics. I thought it brought something very different and everyone has been raving about it.”