Full transcript: Off-piste at the Paras #5: Snowboard Monday - 12 March 2018
This is a full transcript of the 12 March 2018 Off-piste at the Paras #5: Snowboard Monday presented by Beth Rose.
MUSIC - Off Piste at the Paras, from the Winter Paralympics in Pyeongchang. With Beth Rose.
BETH - Welcome to the snowboard after party. Currently on a ski lift, with me Beth Rose on Off Piste at the Paras, Chris from BBC Sport and Lily in the middle holding the microphone as we head down the mountain.
What a day it's been. It's the end of the day here for us and we have seen so much snow sport.
CHRIS - I'm just a little bit worried. This chairlift is swinging more than previous ones.
BETH - Well, ignore it for the broadcast.
CHRIS - Yeah, I don't know if I can concentrate. We see a lot of snowboarding. There was a bit where we didn't see a lot of snowboarding.
BETH - There was. The first thing we should say is, if skiing is the adult sport snowboarding is definitely the teenage sport. We had deejays, cheerleaders, Gangnam Style, mass dance cam danceathons with Gangnam Style and everything. It was a real big party. It was so hot today, so a few days ago if you were listening we were at the opening ceremony and it was minus 5 degrees, today we were in t-shirts, someone was topless ....sunglasses. Only now at the end of the day is it getting a bit chilly. But it was a real party, wasn't it?
CHRIS - Yeah, I had my t-shirt on about lunchtime. It has dropped quite a lot now and I can feel my hands getting cold. But yeah, there was a real pumping atmosphere. It's like when you watch Hollywood films about snowboarding and they'll have the deejay and the kind of, 'awesome, I'm stoked!' kind of guy - that was all there. And we had a screeching South Korean lady behind us.
BETH - We did. It was her boyfriend or partner was the best South Korean. He came 20th in the end, which when you're trying to get in the top three is not tip-top. But she had a flag with his face on and a medal. And the media loved her. But yeah, she spent the whole time shouting.
And on the other side we had a massive USA contingent. The USA had loads of snowboarders going. But we had three guys going for GB.
CHRIS - Yeah, with mixed results. No medals. First day of no medals for GB today.
BETH - It's only day three.
CHRIS - Only day three, that's all right. We've done well in the first two days. Owen Pick and Ben Moore both went out in the round of eight basically, so they got through the qualifier and then lost. But they basically go into knock-out stages where you race head-to-head with another snowboarder, and they both lost theirs. James Barnes-Miller won his round of eight but then went out in the quarter finals. It's really interesting to see their differing kinds of demeanours. Ben was kind of fine and he was like, okay, we'll move on. James, or Stubber as he likes to be known, was massively upbeat; he was like, 'oh mate, it's fine, just move on. It's grand, just happy to be here'.
BETH - And he's called Stubber because he's got one hand, that's famously…
CHRIS - Yes, he's got a stub.
BETH - And his twin brother…
CHRIS - Has got two hands, so as you'd expect he's called two hands. But Owen was a little grumpier. He wasn't happy with his performance. And they all had a lot of waiting to do because of a technical fault today as well.
BETH - Yeah, we should say about that. So, basically everything was going smoothly, the crowd was massively upbeat, cheering for everyone who was coming down, and there were a couple of races where basically they were going head-to-head and one of the gates wouldn't open so they kind of got pushed back and fell to the floor and the other snowboarder carried on.
But it got to the stage where this was happening every single race, and obviously it's a bit dangerous with so much energy going into a gate that is going to stay still. So, they spent a long time. They got the mechanics up there to try and fix it. They had a vote about what to do. They were threatening to end the competition and just do it on the races that each of the snowboarders had done. They do a qualifying heat and then they go into the rounds. And a lot of them, the top snowboarders don't go all out in the qualifying rounds; they just want to make sure that they're in the top 16 and go through. So, some of them had taken it a bit easy, which means if they'd just gone on those results they would have been out of the medals.
We were sitting near the family of Evan Strong, who was a USA guy, he got gold in Sochi and was destined for big things, and had they decided to cancel the competition he would have been placed pretty much nowhere. But after a vote and a huge cheer from the crowd it did go ahead with a man using some elastic basically.
We're just getting off the ski lift now. We made it. So, yeah, one guy had to stand there all afternoon just pinging elastic back and forth.
CHRIS - It's ridiculous. It was kind of farcical because you get all that technology and then it was a good hour where there was no racing and there was a bit of a lull, and then it's solved by a bloke pulling two pieces of rope at the same time. It made no sense. But all the riders seemed pretty happy with it. Stubber was saying that actually if there was one protest then the whole thing would have been annulled, so they were probably a little bit worried about that happening. But I think it was just sportsmanship which overruled.
BETH - And you actually spoke to each of the GB guys after they raced as well.
CHRIS - Yes. As I said, Ben was pretty happy. I mean, the thing is for all of these guys this is the first time we've had British representation at snowboarder Paralympics so they are all still getting used to it. They're just super happy to be here. Owen was angry and then he had to go off and do a drugs test, and then we had a quick chat with Ben as well.
BETH - Yeah, this is really interesting. So, Ben finished hours ago because he finished before the fault happened and that delayed it, and before lunch. And we've seen him, what, five or six hours probably after he finished, and he told us that he'd just had his doping test. What none of us realised actually is the doping test in this instance is a urine test, but he was too hydrated - being a sportsman he was obviously trying to keep his fluid levels up - and because he was too hydrated there wasn't sufficient gravity apparently in the urine which would flag up any banned substances. So, he's just had to hang around not drinking for the rest of the afternoon, and it's been really hot and sunny.
CHRIS - Yeah, that was interesting. Because obviously they have to drink loads, and the staff at Paralympics GB are only doing their job by keeping them hydrated because they perform better that way. But water can mask things, if it's got too much water in there it can mask things, so then they literally just pee in a cup and they test it and if there's too much water they don't like to test that. So, yeah he had to go away and not drink for a couple of hours. He said he was dying of thirst.
BETH - I bet he was. Let's here from the boys.
CHRIS - Ben, snowboard cross can be cruel at times, can't it? And you've seen that today.
BEN - Race day is race day. Anything can happen: you can qualify in third and fall on your first run; I qualified in eighth and it happened, I fell on the first run. Didn't get a good start and then was fighting it the whole way down. I took a little spill and well, somehow here I am. [Laughs]
CHRIS - Well, let's go back to that qualifying. Talk us through the run that got you through. Did that feel like a good run?
BEN - My second run felt a lot better than the time. [Laughs] I got to the bottom and I thought I had improved by quite a lot, and I look up at the clock and it was 0.4 or 0.5 better. Yeah, it was a bit of a slap in the face for myself, but at least I got here.
CHRIS - James, getting through to the quarter finals and going out how are you feeling after that?
JAMES - Yeah, it's gutting. I wanted obviously a medal. But on the other hand great racing, I'm really happy with how my riding was, and if I get kicked out racing someone and it was a good race I'm happy. Do you know what I mean?
CHRIS - We spoke to Owen about how important the starts were, particularly on this snow at the moment. Is that what you found that if you just lose a bit of time it's so difficult?
JAMES - The top's the race out. Down at the bottom it's really tight so it's hard to undertake or overtake. And if you try and undertake it zaps all your speed. So, it's vital getting out in front at the top. But yeah, the gate choice, he had the outside lane so he managed to get out. But it was a good race. I enjoyed it. I hope everyone else enjoyed it. I'm happy. Do you know what I mean?
CHRIS - Was there a moment coming to the last couple of bends where you thought, I might have this? You were getting a little closer.
JAMES - I was getting a lot closer yeah. I was like, oh! and then it got to the last one and I tried to go a little bit lower, try and take a tighter line, it zapped my speed and he managed to get away. But it was cool. It was a good race. I'm happy.
CHRIS - We have to talk about what I think we're going to call gate-gate at the top there.
JAMES - Is that what it's called now?
CHRIS - I think I've just christened that in this moment. Were you aware of what was going on at the time?
JAMES - Yeah. So, the left gate wasn't dropping; they weren't dropping at the same time. Now they're using two bungies. If you touch the bungie you de-queue. And you're not allowed to move when they say rider's ready, attention; attention and then they'll drop the bungie. But you're not allowed to move after that.
CHRIS - And you were happy with the decision to do that and the wait and all of that that comes with it?
JAMES - The wait's not ideal, but it keeps us riding, it keeps it going. And it's fair. It must be fair, they're letting us do it so yeah, I'm happy.
BETH - We didn't have any women in the snowboarding race but hopefully we will in future Games. But there's a lot of big famous names internationally, a lot of Americans who are known across the country that were going out today.
CHRIS - Yeah, so two of the American women particularly are really big in the first category of lower limb amputations, and it was won two for them. Brenna Huckaby, this is her first Paralympics Games, really raised the profile outside of the snowboarding away from the sport. She was the first amputee to appear in a Sports Illustrated swimsuit photo shoot, which obviously you can look at in a couple of ways but that was a thing and it was a big deal. And Amy Purdy, who has appeared in numerous TV shows in the States and stuff as well, she took a couple of years out and that's when Brenna sort of popped on the scene. Amy won bronze four years ago, so she upgraded to a silver by finishing behind Brenna in their race. And I managed to speak to both of them.
CHRIS - Amy, congratulations on a silver. Always a strange feeling to lose a final, but you take a silver anyway.
AMY - Exactly. It is a strange feeling, but at the same time I have to remember why I did this in the first place. And honestly when I was standing in the start gates I was thinking I just want to ride good, I want to show what's possible, I want to do my best. The conditions are starting to get a little bit rough, just because it's getting cold and all the slush is freezing. And I just wanted to be able to hold it together and show what the possibilities are. And I think I was able to do that so I'm really proud about that.
CHRIS - And an upgrade on your medal from four years ago, so that's a mega-positive.
AMY - I got an upgrade so you can't complain about that.
CHRIS - Everyone enjoys an upgrade, whether it's at the airport or at the Winter Paralympics.
AMY - Yeah absolutely.
CHRIS - How proud are you of Brenna for what she's done?
AMY - Yeah, I'm incredibly proud of Brenna. She's worked so hard. She came in when I left the sport; I left for two years and she came in and she's helped to kind of set the bar. So, I've had to come in and kind of keep up with where she's at. Yeah, I think that she's done an amazing job. Same with the other athletes: to be honest all the female athletes have absolutely stepped up the bar.
CHRIS - And has it struck you how much of a big deal this is today? Because snowboarding, even though it was four years ago, it has moved on a step.
AMY - Yeah. You know I don't think it's struck me yet because the whole day was a little bit surreal. We had to wait at the top for hours while they were fixing the start gates, and so you kind of get out of that race mode. Then all of a sudden we were in the gates and it was just go, and a minute later you're winning medals across the finish line. It all happened so slow and so fast at the same time - a little surreal. So, I think later on it will kind of sink in.
CHRIS - I'm here with gold medallist Brenna and her daughter Lilah. Congratulations Brenna. That was a really great final with Amy, wasn't it?
BRENNA - It was awesome. I looked back at one turn and she was right there with me and I pushed a little harder, but it was cool.
CHRIS - What are you feeling right now? This is all quite new to you I guess?
BRENNA - I'm feeling pretty hungry. But I'm really happy and excited and I'm just so thrilled to share with my family.
CHRIS - And especially the climax of a few years for you in terms of everything you've done for the sport and the profile you've raised for yourself. How do you see all that coming together now?
BRENNA - You know, I hope it just brings more awareness and more viewers, and hopefully more females or males into the sport. That's one of the goals is to grow this thing as big as we can. And anybody out there listening it's never too late to come out here.
CHRIS - Chatting with Lilah and your family earlier and she was on her snowboard. How many years do you think we could see her repeating this?
BRENNA - Well, hopefully she's not a para athlete.
CHRIS - Well no. Achievements of course.
BRENNA - Yeah.
CHRIS - Not that there's anything wrong with that.
BRENNA - No, but I want her to stay intact! I don't know. She can do whatever she wants. If she decides she doesn't want to snowboard anymore she doesn't have to snowboard.
CHRIS - Thanks Brenna. Get some food.
BRENNA - Absolutely. Thank you.
BETH - So, we've had a great day on the mountain. It's been so nice and refreshing for it to be warm. It is getting freezing now. But the snowboarders are back in action on Friday. They've got banked slalom, which is basically like a slalom on a snowboard. We're pretty good at it. I think all hopes will definitely be focused on that. We've had a really good year; the guys have finished in the top ten in a lot of places so they all seem pretty happy with their performance and they'll go back to camp and look at it.
But the one takeaway: it's my first time being at a skiing competition and my first time being at the snowboarding competition; the cool cats definitely come to the snowboarding. There is no question. It was full of really trendy people. And even though it was really hot in the midday everyone still wears their beanie hat. Team Canada, or not even Team Canada, supporting Team Canada every single thing they wear is branded in Canada, there's no missing them. And there was even a kangaroo in the crowd as well for Australia.
CHRIS - Yeah, the Aussies were load.
CROWD - Aussie! Aussie! Aussie!
CHRIS - Speak of the devils and they will appear! They've just walked past us. I don't know if they've got their inflatable kangaroo there. I think they've lost their kangaroo. Yeah, the Americans in front of us - we weren't that close to the Brits - but the Americans next to us were very loud. And I think the Americans especially are quite used to the kind of vibe of these things. That skateboard snowboard kind of culture is very sort of within their culture so they sort of fit in very well around these parts.
BETH - Interestingly with the Americans, and I feel a bit bad for saying this, they didn't seem actually very supportive of each other. So, there were a lot of Americans going out, lots of big names, but if one of them got knocked out of the round then his family and friends left. They didn't wait for each other to finish. They weren't like a big congratulatory group, which was quite interesting. I think if it was me, and we had three guys today, even if I was supporting Owen or I knew Owen I would stay for the others. I was quite surprised about that.
CHRIS - I would imagine part of that is because with the British set-up the guys are very much together and there are fewer of them, so it's very much more the tight-knit thing there. I think with the Americans probably they are a bigger profile and they've become part of the machine a bit more, so they're probably very separate, very disparate, very far away from each and actually come together very few times, so the families won't know each other that well. It probably feels more like Team Brenna, Team Amy and it's very rare that they come together. Because they're competing for themselves essentially.
BETH - And there are a lot of women who are not going to have a voice later tonight or tomorrow because there was a lot of screaming going on. But there is still loads of action to happen, we're only day three, so let's look forward to some more medals.
This has been a Winter Paralympics podcast brought to you by BBC Ouch from Pyeongchang in South Korea. You can email the team firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet @bbcouch.