Competition Controversy in the Superpipe
As I’ve talked about before, adding a scoring element to these “freestyle” competitions is ridiculous in itself. But then again, it’s necessary in a competition that fuels these athletes to push the limits. We get it.
And athletes didn’t really seem phased by the whole scoring thing until Shaun White won at this past weekend’s Burton U.S. Open. White shed any doubt that he remains the world’s best halfpipe rider by winning the competition this past weekend, but his win was definitely clouded with some controversy.
Japanese rider Ayumu Hirano, who exploded onto the snowboarding’ scene at the Winter X-Games, just sent it huge on his first run. According to Kevin Pearce, a former competitive snowboarder and now a broadcast analyst, Hirano’s run was “bigger, cleaner and smoother” than White’s. The controversy is that Hirano’s score, an 84.85, fell eight points short of White’s 92.13. The scoring discrepancy ignited a quick controversy, so naturally people flocked to twitter to express their feelings.
The awesome thing about being limited to 140 characters on twitter is that people definitely don’t get to mince their words. Here is some of the reaction to the scoring:
There’s no way that run was 8 points more then #AyumiHiranos! It was a great run but that big of a gap is bull.
If you want to watch some highway robbery rewind to min.18 on the burton.com/usowebcast, and watch Ayumu Hirano’s first run. #84?!
— ESPN Snowboarding (@ESPN_Snow) March 2, 2013
Can you imagine if this scoring “bull” as O’Brien nicely puts it happened at X-Games or the Olympics? That would for sure NOT be okay. But let’s not forget, White did make up for whatever controversy there could have been in winning the thing outright from run 1 with a more difficult second run by adding another double cork 1260. White improved his score to 95.58, which withstood challenges by Ayumo and third-place finisher Louie Vito. Touche Shaun White, touche.
Coupled with a season of questioning scoring’s place in freestyle competitions, this season has also brought along a lot of companies closing and sponsors dropping. Action sports athletes are known like NBA stars for their relationship with shoe companies. And while basketball shoes probably won’t actually allow you to jump higher or run faster like they used to advertise, skate and BMX shoes actually will allow you to grip better and feel more when you’re on your board or bike. They are designed for practical uses, not just for show like the interchangeable insoles in you Air Jordans.
All that being said, shoe companies are obvious sponsors in the action sports world, which made it huge news when DC decided to drop their BMX team. What is a pro BMX rider to do when the economic climate of the BMX industry seems unable to support the riders pushing the sport? It’s incredibly tough to say. And what is a pro rider to do when they’ve been dropped by a sponsor and don’t have many other options as far as income goes? I guess this shouldn’t have come as a HUGE surprise as they are owned by Quiksilver, which has also cut as many as 30 employees, dismantling their snow, skate, waterman, women and girls programs, as well as cutting almost all of their sponsored athletes across multiple sports.
Felt weird putting on a new brand of shoe after only wearing DC for 10yrs. #changes
— Corey Bohan (@Corey_Bohan) February 26, 2013
The action sports world feels like it’s on shaky footing. One thing’s for sure, Slater (one of the 180 surfers to remain sponsored by the brand) better win another world title this year, he will have a lot of boardshorts to sell.
So what does all of this have to do with a baby??
Nothing. Because unlike Quiksilver, the sponsors of Lyn-Z and Travis Pastrana (Redbull, Ethika, Alpine Stars, Volcom, Nixon, Etnies, and more) seem to be doing just fine, which is good because the Pastranas will needing that money to buy tons of diapers and other baby items this fall, for Baby Pastrana will be dropping in!
Yes, there will be a baby Pastrana! And while his/her parents are hoping that a more mellow sport like golf or tennis is in the cards, with a professional skateboarder as a mom and a motocross racer turned freestyle rider turned rally driver gone NASCAR, I doubt they will get their wishes. Regardless of what career path Baby Pastrana takes, it is for sure that 199.5′s life will definitely never be boring.
Congrats Travis and Lyn-Z!