Angry Olympic snowboard champ Hirano demands better judging

Angry Olympic snowboard champ Hirano demands better judging
Japanese Olympic snowboarding champion Ayumu Hirano calls for better judging at the sport, says riders 'put their lives on line' for impressive results.
2 min read
12 February, 2022
Snowboarder Ayumu Hirano of Japan won gold at the men's half pipe event at the Winter Olympics in Beijing, China [Getty]

New Olympic snowboard halfpipe champion Ayumu Hirano says that riders are "putting their lives on the line" but not being scored "accurately", calling for better judging.

The dreadlocked Japanese beat retiring legend Shaun White and a host of others to win gold in the men's halfpipe on Friday, but he had to come from behind on his final run to do it.

Hirano said he was "angry" and "didn't understand" why his jaw-dropping second run did not put him into first place, and on Saturday he called for wholesale changes to the judging system.

"We want to have sound standards and I think we should look into exactly what the judges were looking at," said the 23-year-old.

"For the athletes, they're putting their lives on the line, they're giving it their all. So for the riders, I think some steps need to be taken to address this issue regarding the judges."

Hirano called for a "more robust system" and said he thinks judging standards are "not established yet".

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He said snowboarding's sense of freedom is "what makes it attractive" but a more rigid structure is needed for competitions.

"The wow factor, how you can touch people through your performance, that's important too," he said.

"But at the Games, in terms of the amplitude, the grabs, we need to measure those accurately and assess those and score those accurately."

Hirano was competing at his third Winter Games in Beijing, after winning silver at the 2014 and 2018 Olympics.

He also competed in skateboarding at the Tokyo Games last summer.