Snowboarders hit back after ‘dangerous’ Winter Olympic final

Miyabi Onitsuka of Japan crashes during the women's slopestyle final at Phoenix Snow Park during the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang. (AP)
Updated 12 February 2018

Snowboarders hit back after ‘dangerous’ Winter Olympic final

PYEONGCHANG: Angry snowboarders have hit out at the “really dangerous” women’s slopestyle final at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, saying it should have been canceled or postponed after vicious winds caused a string of crashes on Monday.
The vast majority of the athletes competing in the event, including eventual gold medallist American Jamie Anderson, took a fall at the frigid Phoenix Park, where high winds forced Sunday’s qualifiers to be scrapped and also delayed the final for more than an hour on Monday.
It was not the first event to be affected by the swirling winds in Pyeongchang, as the prestigious men’s downhill skiing had to be moved to Thursday after falling victim to the conditions.
None of the snowboarders suffered major injury as gusting winds wreaked havoc, but the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and International Ski Federation (FIS) are sure to face awkward questions as to why the final was not postponed.
Enni Rukajarvi mastered the conditions better than most and took bronze behind defending champion Anderson and Laurie Blouin of Canada, but the Finn said her achievement had been overshadowed.
“Most happy that no one got hurt really bad,” she said.
Asked whether it had been the right decision to hold the event, she replied: “It wasn’t. It was better in the practice, but then it got really bad, so they should have canceled it or moved it.”
The 27-year-old added: “The weather was bad and too dangerous and I got a lot of wind in my run, so that was bad, too. I had a fall and hurt my chin a little bit so it wasn’t too nice.”
On Sunday, the 17-year-old Tess Coady, the youngest member of the Australian team in South Korea, was forced out of the Games after wrecking her left knee in training. Coady blamed the weather and Austrian rival Anna Gasser said: “So many people got hurt because of the wind already.
“Even yesterday, the practice we did in the morning was dangerous,” added Gasser after finishing 15th in the slopestyle.
Gasser called it “a lottery” and said: “I don’t think it was a fair competition and I’m a little disappointed in the organization that they pulled through with it.
“From my point of view I think it was not a good show for women’s snowboarding.”
Elsewhere in Pyeongchang on day three, German biathlete Laura Dahlmeier became the first double gold medalist of the Olympics by capturing the women’s 10-kilometer pursuit.
She had previously won the 7.5-kilometer sprint at the weekend.
With a healthy lead, Dahlmeier grabbed a German flag from a fan in the crowd about 50 meters from the finish line and began waving it as she crossed.
Dahlmeier entered the games ranked fourth in the world but had never won a gold medal. She is quickly becoming the darling of the German team.
After hitting all 10 targets in the sprint, Dahlmeier was nearly perfect again in her second race, hitting 19 of 20 shots to cruise to a victory by more than 29 seconds over Slovakia’s Anastasiya Kuzmina, who edged France’s Anais Bescond for silver.


German regional clubs probed after players mimic Turkish military salute

Updated 16 October 2019

German regional clubs probed after players mimic Turkish military salute

  • Three teams in the Recklinghausen district, near Gelsenkirchen, will face a disciplinary committee after pictures posted on social media
  • The military gesture has become a hot topic after Turkey players saluted to celebrate goals during Euro 2020 qualifiers against France and Albania

BERLIN: At least five German regional football teams face disciplinary action after their players imitated the military salute performed by the Turkish national team during matches last weekend.
Germany has a Turkish population of around 2.5 million people and three teams in the Recklinghausen district, near Gelsenkirchen, will face a disciplinary committee after pictures posted on social media showed their players made the controversial salute to celebrate goals.
“In one case it was the whole team, in another case, it was five or six players,” Hans-Otto Matthey, the district chairman of the Westphalia Football and Athletics Association (FLVW), told AFP subsidiary SID.
Matthey hopes making the clubs accountable will discourage others in the region, which has a sizeable Turkish community, against repeating the gesture in this weekend’s matches.
“I predict that nobody else will have the nerve to repeat something like this,” he added.
There were also two further cases of teams in Bavaria making the salute. Both clubs are also set to face disciplinary measures.
The military gesture has become a hot topic after Turkey players saluted to celebrate goals during Euro 2020 qualifiers against France in Paris on Monday and on Friday against Albania.
The salute is seen as a reference to Turkey’s military operation against Kurdish militants in Syria, which has been condemned by both France and Germany.
Turkey’s sports minister Mehmet Muharrem Kasapoglu has described the controversial gesture as a “nice salute,” but European football’s ruling body UEFA is investigating the national team for the “potential provocative political behavior” of its players.
After the isolated incidents of saluting in Germany’s lower leagues, several regional governing bodies have taken a clear stance.
Both the Bavarian (BFV) and North German Football Associations (NFV) have warned players in their areas to expect “heavy penalties” for imitating the military salute, with other the associations in Berlin and Wurttemberg following suit.
“Insults and provocations have no place on or off the pitch and will not be tolerated,” an NFV football official told SID.
The German Football Association (DFB) took a similar stance last weekend.
Germany internationals Emre Can and Ilkay Gundogan, who have Turkish roots, apologized on Sunday after they both clicked ‘Like’ on a picture of the Turkish footballers saluting during Friday’s 1-0 win over Albania, which they later removed.
“We are against all forms of violence and discrimination,” said national team director Oliver Bierhoff.