Snowboarding

Facts

Discipline of Skiing
Participants 688
NOCs 36
Competitions held 40 (Venues)
Distinct events 22
IF Fédération internationale de ski

Description

Snowboarding is a sport combining elements of surfing, skateboarding, and skiing. The snowboarders slide down a snow-covered surface on a single board strapped to their feet. It developed in the 1960s with the first mass-produced snowboard being sold in 1966, termed the “Snurfer”. In the late 1970s, snowboarding became more popular and snowboarders began to “invade” traditional snow resorts, often met by opposition from skiiers who tried to exclude the snowboarders from “their” mountains. By the 1990s, almost all ski resorts allowed snowboarding, and the resorts have found the snowboarders to be an excellent source of new revenue.

Competition in snowboarding developed in the late 1970s and early 1980s. World Championships in the sport were first held in 1993 for both men and women. At the World Championships, there are six events contested: parallel giant slalom, parallel slalom, halfpipe, boarder-cross or snowboard cross, and a combined competition. Parallel slalom and giant slalom are similar to slalom racing done in professional skiing, in which two skiiers race down parallel race courses of identical design. The first snowboarder to finish the course advances to the next round. Halfpipe is an acrobatic event, conducted in a tube, termed the halfpipe, which is bounded by two steep parallel walls of ice. Boarder-cross is a very exciting, almost combative, event that is contested in rounds and heats, with each heat consisting of several snowboarders (4-8). The snowboarders race pack-style down the same course, with the first finishers advancing to the next round. The event is fast, with lots of action, skills, and contact, and was added to the Olympic Program in 2006 at Torino.

Snowboarding was admitted to the Olympic Program for the 1998 Olympic Winter Games in Nagano. At the Olympics, men and women each compete in three events: parallel giant slalom, halfpipe, and snowboard cross. Another event, superpipe, which is similar to halfpipe, but with higher vertical walls, is being considered for inclusion at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games.

Snowboarding is governed by the Fédération internationale de ski (FIS), according to the International Olympic Committee (IOC), although this has been controversial. When snowboarding sought recognition as an Olympic sport, it tried to do so under the aegis of its own federation, the International Snowboard Federation (ISF), which was not recognized by the IOC. The IOC agreed to allow snowboarding on the Olympic program but only if governed by the FIS as a discipline of skiing, and the ISF, after losing that control, eventually ceased operations in 2002. The decision was not well accepted by the snowboarding community, and several top snowboarders skipped the first Olympic competition in protest. Eight snowboarders have won two Olympic medals through 2010, with three winning two gold medals: Shaun White (USA), Seth Wescott (USA), and Philipp Schoch (SUI).

All-time medal table

NOC Gold Silver Bronze Total
United States USA 14 7 10 31
Switzerland SUI 8 2 3 13
France FRA 4 4 4 12
Canada CAN 4 4 3 11
Russian Federation RUS 2 2 1 5
Austria AUT 2 1 4 7
Czech Republic CZE 2 0 1 3
Germany GER 1 4 2 7
Australia AUS 1 2 1 4
Italy ITA 1 1 1 3
Netherlands NED 1 0 0 1
Japan JPN 0 3 1 4
Norway NOR 0 3 1 4
Finland FIN 0 2 2 4
Slovenia SLO 0 1 2 3
People's Republic of China CHN 0 1 0 1
Republic of Korea KOR 0 1 0 1
Slovakia SVK 0 1 0 1
Sweden SWE 0 1 0 1
Great Britain GBR 0 0 2 2
New Zealand NZL 0 0 1 1
Spain ESP 0 0 1 1

Most successful competitors

Athlete Nat Gold Silver Bronze Total
Shaun White USA 3 0 0 3
Jamie Anderson USA 2 1 0 3
Philipp Schoch SUI 2 0 0 2
Seth Wescott USA 2 0 0 2
Pierre Vaultier FRA 2 0 0 2
Vic Wild OAR
RUS
2 0 0 2
Karine Ruby FRA 1 1 0 2
Hannah Teter USA 1 1 0 2
Torah Bright AUS 1 1 0 2
Nevin Galmarini SUI 1 1 0 2

Event types

Name Gender Still contested? Times held?
Parallel Giant Slalom Men 5
Slopestyle Men 2
Halfpipe Men 6
Boardercross Men 4
Big Air Men 1
Parallel Giant Slalom Women 5
Slopestyle Women 2
Halfpipe Women 6
Boardercross Women 4
Big Air Women 1
Slopestyle Boys 3
Halfpipe Boys 3
Boardercross Boys 2
Big Air Boys 1
Boardercross Girls 2
Slopestyle Girls 3
Halfpipe Girls 3
Big Air Girls 1
Parallel Slalom Men 1
Giant Slalom Men 1
Parallel Slalom Women 1
Giant Slalom Women 1