Ski Judges for Olympic Snowboarding?

Stoking the FIS/Snowboarding/Olympics fire, ESPN asks, “Can a ski judge accurately assess the style and fluidity of tricks that only exist in snowboarding — and vice versa?” in response to news that the FIS  is seeking to dual-purpose some judges for both the ski and snowboard events at the Sochi 2014 games. Halfpipe, as well as slopestyle events for both disciplines could be affected.

On Twitter, Todd Richards quipped that figure skating and curling would now share the same judges. Scotty Lago said also made a figure skating comparison, “It’s like having a figure skating judge on our judging panel.”

Yes, this is just another reason to dislike the FIS but remember, even freeskiers don’t like the FIS; so it’s not like I’m just piling on. OK. Kind of. But this is most definitely not a skiers vs. snowboarders issue; competitors from both sports have voiced concerns over how this would be done and what it means for the integrity of the competition.

Is it possible to share judges across disciplines? Maybe it could be done correctly but it seems pretty clear that this decision really does not have anything to do with promoting the best interests of either sport, or of the athletes, or of the audience.  It’s a simple cost-cutting measure that can’t really be spun any other way except by dressing it up with a little bit of MBA buzz words like “efficiency and economy” rather than calling a spade a spade and admitting they’re just trying to pad the bottom line and appease their corporate overlords.

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