– Personally, I had a little trouble with the track. It’s quite demanding, with ice around the rails and it’s stuffy because it’s so dry. It’s not optimal, but it works, Markus Kleveland tells NRK.
Thursday came the first fall of the Olympic course. Japan’s Rina Yoshika crashed ugly after a jump in the slopestyle course and had to be transported to an ambulance.
Even before the fall, several American snowboarders had mentioned that they were afraid of the conditions on the Olympic track.
One of America’s biggest snowboarding stars, Jamie Anderson, went so far as to say the thick piste was scary after the first day of practice. Artificial snow is one of the reasons.
– It’s called bulletproof ice. It’s not quite ideal and I don’t really want to fall, but I want to say that it’s better than expected, said Jamie Anderson during a press conference.
Artificial snow is very solid and gives little return, unlike natural snow, which to a greater extent can provide some cushioning.
She thought the track was just hard to handle.
– The Olympic Games are still in full swing. Everything is gigantic and scary, but visually it looks fantastic, like a video game, she says and continues:
– It’s quite difficult, because it’s a bit difficult to discover the race and how to manage the snow conditions. It scares me a little more, but I think it will be more advanced and we drive better after a quarter, said Anderson.
Her teammate Hailey Langland is behind the snowboarding veteran.
– The track is not bad, but I just don’t want to fall on it, said Langland.
Sandbech admits he is excited about how he will handle the course.
– We like exciting trails, but some things don’t “line up” as well as hoped. Thus, the plan that one had in advance may have to change. Especially the first jump is a jump you are not used to. Something cool, that we’re taking on a challenge, but it might take a little longer to figure it out, he says.
Can’t stand the cold
Marcus Kleveland said at the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics that he couldn’t tolerate the cold.
It is not hotter in Zhangjiakou in China, which is characterized by very dry and freezing air. Temperatures descend on the degree scale and can quickly drop to minus 20.
– I don’t drive well when it’s cold, and it’s very cold here. Luckily, I have a battery-operated warm vest, and it warms his upper body quite well, Kleveland says.
He’s excited to know if he can catch Canadian Mark McMorris, who was the X Games’ top contender two weeks ago when Kleveland won two golds and a silver.
– I don’t know if I can follow. It takes longer to warm up the body and you want to feel good and smooth behind the wheel. I usually struggle throughout the day. Knees and everything are harder when it’s cold, Kleveland continues.
His teammate Ståle Sandbech is sad that the cold doesn’t make it so enjoyable.
– The worst is that it is very cold. You have to dress like a “Marshmallow”, and the bone feels like it’s frozen to ice. But we manage and we have a day to train. Maybe the weather gods are giving us a few extra degrees of heat here, but I haven’t checked the weather forecast so I don’t know, Sandbech said.
Enthusiastic about the result
Several of the American male runners also spent a lot of time thinking after testing the track. Several had to make changes to the schedule and happily boast for several days of practice before the competition kicked off.
– It was quite strange to get used to, and it’s very cold. I had to make a few changes along the way, says Red Gerard, who surprisingly won Olympic gold in Pyeongchang at the age of 17.
Anderson finds comfort in the fact that the Olympic track is new to everyone.
– The cool thing about the Olympics is that everyone poses with the same card. It’s a whole new mountain and a whole new setup. It’s a good challenge. We have a pretty crazy week ahead of us, she concludes.
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