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Jenna Conter: a dissection of Olympic snowboarding

Snowboard
Snowboard - 123RF Stock Photo

Beef curtains, Canadian bacon, Korean bacon, chicken salad, and Swiss cheese air. No these aren’t the menu items available at the arena, but names of snowboarding grabs. There’s a lot more to snowboarding than one would assume.

It looks like a simple apparatus, but in the world of official jumps, grabs, twists, slides and stalls, it’s the difference of a few inches that changes the entire nature of the jump or grab.

There’s frontside and backside, which is how you identify how the trick is performed and usually gives the indication, especially for aerials, of the direction of the spin. Then there’s switch-stance and fakie. Though seemingly interchangeable in snowboarding, there is a big difference. The switch means any trick done in the opposite of the riders original stance, or backwards. The fakie, like all these other terms, comes from the skateboard world. It usually means that the actual foot position on the board has changed. Since that can’t happen in snowboarding, it actually refers to how the trick is landed: backwards, for example.

Enjoy all the Armchair athleticism, follow the Games here.

Then comes the list of straight airs and grabs.

Chicken salad: Put your backhand between your legs and take hold of the heel or back edge between the bindings while the front leg is boned (or straight). Grab is complete with an inwardly rotated wrist.

Canadian Bacon: Classic film with John Candy, but also when the backhand comes behind the back leg to grab the toe, or front edge, between the bindings while the back leg is straight.

Jenna Conter
Jenna Conter

The men of snowboard took to the hill for their qualification defying gravity for some big air. A collection of Canadians are skillfully representing our nation including Mark McMorris, who currently sits in third in his heat. This young man has a story of perseverance that will undoubtedly keep him motivated to pursue many more an Olympic dreams for years to come.

Then there’s the figure skating vernacular. There are about six common jumps seen throughout any figure skating competition like these Olympics. Taken either clockwise or counter-clockwise by the athlete from the get, the jumps are categorized as a toe jumps (hence those little toe pick spikey things) or edge jumps, which doesn’t get the assistance of the other leg. Since Salt Lake in 2002, the judging system for figure skating has changed so drastically that attempting to cover the rules here would turn this column into a book. So just know it’s real tough to be perfect.

Axel jump: An edge jump taken on the forward outside edge. It’s then landed on the back outside edge of the other foot. Due to its forward takeoff and backwards landing, an axel actually carries with it an extra rotation (i.e. a single Axel is 1.5 rotations; a double is 2.5; a triple is 3.5 revolutions, and so on.)

Lutz jump: A toe jump launched from a back outside edge and lands on the back outside edge of the other foot. The lutz is a counter-rotated jump, meaning the direction of the takeoff edge travels in the opposite rotational direction to which the skater rotates in the air and then lands.

Bunny Hop: A non-rotational jump that is typically a jump learned by novice skaters.

The women’s figure skating short program - two minutes and fifty seconds - featured what one can only assume to the next generation of figure skaters. Maybe that’s just my bad hip talking, but every time they welcomed a skater to the ice, more often than not the term teen was used. A veteran at 23, our Kaetlyn (she’s a little bit rock and roll) Osmond, sits in third and will skate for the free skate Thursday evening.

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