February 18, 2014

"Extreme Park Crashes Taking Outsize Toll on Women"

From the NYT:
Extreme Park Crashes Taking Outsize Toll on Women  
By JOHN BRANCH FEB. 18, 2014 
... Most of the accidents have occurred at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park, site of the snowboarding and freestyle skiing events like halfpipe, slopestyle and moguls. 
And most of the injuries have been sustained by women. 
Through Monday night, a review of the events at the Extreme Park counted at least 22 accidents that either forced athletes out of the competition or, if on their final run, required medical attention. Of those, 16 involved women. The injury rate is higher when considering that the men’s fields are generally larger. 
The question, a difficult one, is why. 
The Winter Games have always had dangerous events. But the Extreme Park, as the name suggests, is built on the ageless allure of danger.

As Lance Murdock, professional daredevil, told Bart and Lisa Simpson, "It's always good to see young people taking an interest in danger."
All of the events there have been added to the Olympic docket since 1992, each a tantalizing cocktail of grace and peril. 
But unlike some of the time-honored sports of risk, including Alpine skiing, luge and ski jumping, there are few concessions made for women. For both sexes, the walls of the halfpipe are 22 feet tall. The slopestyle course has the same tricky rails and the same massive jumps. The course for ski cross and snowboard cross, a six-person race to the finish over jumps and around icy banked curves, is the same for men and women. The jumps for aerials are the same height. The bumps in moguls play no gender favorites. 
“Most of the courses are built for the big show, for the men,” said Kim Lamarre of Canada, the bronze medalist in slopestyle skiing, where the competition was delayed a few times by spectacular falls. “I think they could do more to make it safer for women.” 
Compare the sports with downhill skiing, in which women have their own course, one that is shorter and less difficult to navigate. Or luge, in which female sliders start lower on the track than the men. Or ski jump, in which women were finally allowed to participate this year, but only on the smaller of the two hills. 
The Olympics have a history — sexist, perhaps — of trying to protect women from the perils of some sports. 
But equality reigns at the Extreme Park, even to the possible detriment of the female participants. 
“When we practice, we don’t practice on the same jumps as the men,” said J. F. Cusson, ski slopestyle coach for Canada and a former X Games gold medalist.

Slopestyle is the event that Bob Costas was derided as an old man for comparing to something out of the Jackass movies: it's like a mountainside skateboard park.

Another new wrinkle is that skiers are now doing the crazy stuff that snowboarders have been doing, and skis are much faster than boards, so they go faster and higher. (The advantage of snowboards is that they are slow, so you don't need as big a ski mountain to have fun on, so more people can snowboard more locally and thus more often.)
“They’re too big for them. But when they compete, they have to jump on the same jumps, so they get hurt. It’s a big concern of mine.” ...
In some of the events, like the halfpipe and moguls, athletes can decide how fast or high they want to go. But in sports like slopestyle and snowboard and ski cross, they have to maintain a certain speed to launch themselves a certain distance to negotiate the course. Slowing down can be just as dangerous as going fast, and few medals are earned with the brakes on. 
Olympic organizers want to build courses and competitions that are the equal, at least, of the Winter X Games, where most of the Extreme Park events gained wide popularity. But the invitation-only X Games have small fields, often 10 or fewer of the world’s best. The Olympics, by design, want larger fields with a wide cross-section of countries. The drop-off in talent between top athletes and the bottom of the field can be drastic.

Especially on the women's side. In most women's sports, the marginal competitors are pretty weak.
There were concerns about slopestyle, which made its Olympic debut here, from the beginning. Men and women worried aloud about the course during training, complaining mostly about jumps bigger than many had seen before. The American snowboarder Shaun White said the course could be “intimidating,” and then pulled out of the competition, worried that an injury would spoil his chance to compete in the gentler confines of the halfpipe.

Let's pause on that: Too intimidating for the Snowboarder Formerly Known as the Flying Tomato ...

I watched men's ski slopestyle (skis are faster than snowboards, so the jumps are immense) and the only way they could have made that even more entertaining was if they had allowed competitors to fire shoulder-mounted Stinger surface-to-air missiles at each other.
“There’s a lot of consequence on that course,” Charles Reid of Canada said.
But the men managed to negotiate the slopestyle course with just one Olympic-ending injury. The women had far more difficulty. 
... The slopestyle course did present options, including two ramps at each of the three big jumps, one slightly smaller than the other. About half the women’s field used the smaller jumps in qualifications (none of the men did), and a few of the 12 finalists used the smaller jumps, but that did not prevent injuries. 
“I see it every contest,” Cusson said. “Unless they are forced to hit the smaller side, the best ones will always go for the bigger jumps. They want to prove to everybody that they are capable. And then all the other girls will follow.” 
While men are now attempting triple flips, women are not to the point of doing doubles. Cusson believes that the smaller jumps are sufficient for the tricks that women are doing. At last year’s world championships in Norway, Cusson required his team to use the smaller jumps to limit injuries. Some women were upset, afraid that their scores from judges would be lower without the greater risk. But Canada finished first, second and fifth in the competition. 
“If all the girls did it, if they all hit the smaller jump, the problem would be solved,” Cusson said. 
But most women grew up in a time when they view themselves as capable as men. 

Women are just built less ruggedly. Here's Michael Sokolove's book Warrior Girls: Protecting Our Daughters Against the Injury Epidemic in Women's Sports.

On the positive side, the helmets they wear are the bicycle kind that you throw away after an impact rather than football helmets which have to last a long time. And sports surgery has improved radically over the years. What proportion of top sports surgeons live in Aspen or Park City or other winter wonderlands?
 

50 comments:

Auntie Analogue said...


But...

but...

but...no matter the cost to taxpayers in extra dollars or the cost on women's health the armed forces simply must put more women in combat jobs!

TWS said...

Snow is sexist. Gravity is sexist. Too damn many things are sexist. Why can't the world treat women equally?

Laguna Beach Fogey said...

"Outsize toll"? Inequality sucks. But the phrase just can't help reminding me of a scene from the first Hobbit movie.

In the meantime I'm watching a live feed from Kiev, in which US-backed terrorists are attempting to overthrow a democratically-elected government.

Maybe it's time to start learning Russian.

Geoff Matthews said...

Biology is sexist. Women run slower times, lift lighter weights, and throw shorter distances, on average, compared to men.
That they can withstand less punishment shouldn't be too surprising.

Anonymous said...

Equality-

Damned if you do.

Damned if you don't.

Maguro said...

One thing they ought to do next time is have the women compete in slopestyle/halfpipe first, followed by the men. After you watch the guys do their tricks, the girls just look so weak out there. Their jumps look about half as high.

It's a problem that Alpine skiing doesn't have...the women look awesome flying down the hill, but in halfpipe, not so much.

Steve Sailer said...

"One thing they ought to do next time is have the women compete in slopestyle/halfpipe first, followed by the men."

Right, the first slopestyle event I saw was one of the women's and it looked amazing, and then the men's topped it. The other way around is anticlimactic.

They do that with figure skating where women's event is the big deal so it comes last. They should probably move ice dancing up to first in the skating schedule. It's really nice, but with no jumps a little unspectacular after the men's event. But they may have ice dancing in between the men's and women's events as a sort of palate cleanser to keep you from comparing the men's and women's quite as closely on humping ability.

Anonymous said...

You play at the extreme park, you get the extreme injuries. And aren't women supposed to be just as tough as men? You wouldn't think all these broken bones and stuff would bother them ...


William Rebel said...

Biology is destiny.

Anonymous said...

Slopestyle is retarded. They have a big rail on the course sticking out of snow which is supposed to be like the rails next to steps that skateboarders go down. It's a really stupid "sport".

Hunsdon said...

Did our host really mention men and women's respective humping ability?

JR said...

OT:

Steve in January:

‘The Carney Precedent justifies the Fischer Precedent. What will the Fischer Precedent be used to justify?’

Here’s your answer:

‘Meet the Israeli economics expert who could become Italy’s Stanley Fischer’

http://www.haaretz.com/business/.premium-1.574501

Anonymous said...

I haven't watched a Winter Olympics in over twenty years. This year I watched the men's snowboard slopestyle. I admired their courage. I admire the female shredders as well. Running that course takes skill, and guts.

Neil Templeton

NOTA said...

Mortality is sexist the other way--women live longer. It's kinda like the universe is put together without the slightest interest in our moral or ideological preferences.

jody said...

most hilarious is that snowboard race they do, i think they call it snowboard cross, where women can't even finish the race when they are in the lead and no other competitor is even around them or in their way. they just go over jumps with nobody even close to them, and then crash for no reason whatsoever.

laughed so hard when that lindsey jacobellis 'athlete' crashed yet again while she was way out in front with not a single competitor even close to her. how could a real athlete not even be able to finish a clear path race, but instead crash like that over and over? the answer is, of course, that they're not real athletes.

if you went on youtube and watched women try to race dirt bikes for instance, you'd see that they can't even do basic stuff like clear an offroad course even when there are no other competitors in the way. it's just crash, crash, crash.

kinda gives you the willies for 200 mile per hour car racing, and some insight into what the men in those races might be thinking in private as a couple women show up behind the wheel at the start of the race.

The Anti-Gnostic said...

The question, a difficult one, is why.

Anonymous said...

I'd argue that one measure of a civilization's quality is how well it protects its A-Team breeding population. By that standard western culture has been on a downhill slope - no pun intended - for over a century now. This is just another instance.

Anonymous said...

"But they may have ice dancing in between the men's and women's events as a sort of palate cleanser to keep you from comparing the men's and women's quite as closely on humping ability."

Humping ability, eh? Well I know which of the two increases my humping ability.
"The Olympics have a history — sexist, perhaps — of trying to protect women from the perils of some sports."

Seems rather simple to know if that's the case: compare rates of injury. If women are injured as often or more often in the "sexist" sports, then the IOC isn't being sexist, but pragmatic.

Anonymous said...

In other news, Zimbabwe apparently takes its immigration laws more seriously than the United States. Good ole perv Mel Reynolds (D), former congressman from blacktopia, was just arrested in Zimbabwe on immigration and porn charges.

Anonymous said...

"Mortality is sexist the other way--women live longer. It's kinda like the universe is put together without the slightest interest in our moral or ideological preferences."

Racial and gender equality are the leftists' equivalent of Adam & Eve, only far more absurd.

Harry Baldwin said...

Steve Sailer said...It's really nice, but with no jumps a little unspectacular after the men's event.

I don't know, when the skaters are attempting jumps so difficult that half of them fall on their butts when they land, it takes a lot of the beauty out of the act. I prefer the ice dancing. They were doing amazing stuff and no one fell down as far as I recall.

countenance said...

I've heard a lot of complaints about the snow on the mountains near Sochi being ice hard. I heard that complaint a lot about the men's downhill.

One other thing I've noticed from Sochi -- Long track speedskating. The Dutch have won 19 total medals in it, all other countries combined have won 5.

OT: You'll go to town:

https://medium.com/matter/945462826399

ray said...

It's tremendously sexist and anti-female to subject these women to this dangerous course.

It's tremendously sexist and anti-female not to allow strong, capable, empowered women to compete on this course. Males are constantly discriminating and oppressing women by with-holding all the privileges of being a male.

Conclusion:

Misogyny is everywhere, and is the baseline tactic used by The Evil Patriarchy to hold down and oppress females, all over the universe.

Until The Evil Patriarchy constructs a course/event for women that is Equal to the men's, and that simultaneously is completely safe for your Precious 'n Powerful wives and daughters, well... the War on Women obviously will continue.

Even after the Hilderbeest ascends to the Emperorship.

USA! USA! USA!

Anonymous said...

wham bam thank you ma'am

Anonymous said...

"comparing to something out of the Jackass movies"

Anyone remember speed skiing as a demo sport in the 93 olympics? When someone died after a collision with a maintenance vehicle they stopped the insanity. It would be unfair to compare it to Jackass movies as the Jackass crew seem to plan their stunts.

Speed Skiing Is the Fastest Non-Motorized Sport on Earth. Why Isn’t It in the Olympics?

http://www.slate.com/blogs/five_ring_circus/2014/02/09/speed_skiing_why_isn_t_it_an_olympic_sport.html

Anonymous said...

I listened to a BBC Women's Hour broadcast last week, honestly those creeps still have a Women's Hour, they talked about discrimination against women in comedy, drone drone etcetera. To cap their drivel they mentioned that a girl born today in UK would be expected to live 100.3 years.

And there the broadcast ended.

Can you fill in the rest, they didn't of course.

Gordo

Eric said...

My niece is 16 and has already had her knee reconstructed twice from soccer injuries. She's not the only one on her team, either. You're right - women just aren't as rugged. Their joints can't take as much punishment and they don't have as much muscle to protect the joints.

Anonymous said...

After much googling I found a female Speed skier that didn't manage not to kill herself.

"Tovar had only taken up the sport 18 months ago and had beaten the British women's record of 125.5mph just two days before the accident."

Crash kills British speed skier
http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/other_sports/winter_sports/6581607.stm

Anonymous said...

“I think they could do more to make it safer for women.”

How about making industrial
accidents safer for men?

How about making testicular cancer safer for men?

Anonymous said...

Do Women of Color get even MORE injuries? What about GAY Women of Color?

peterike said...

Skiing accidents on rise. Women and minorities affected mo....

oh wait.

Anonymous said...

The fathers of these injured women should feel like shit. What happened to saying 'no'?

Anonymous said...

If I was one of those fathers, I would personally hunt down the patriarchical white male bastard that forced my daughter at gunpoint to participate in these dangerous white male sports!

mkl said...

NY Times headline: "Atomic bomb explodes over N.Y. City. Woman and minorities affected most."

Old, old joke.

Whiskey said...

Speed skating and short track are relatively safer for women absebt blade mishaps. Cross country skiing seems relatively lw risk. Biathalon is entertaining.

Anonymous said...

So much for the feminist mantra that "Anything Men Can Do, Women Can Do Better."

Pochinko said...

"But most women grew up in a time when they view themselves as capable as men."

Again supporting the old adage that a conservative is a liberal mugged by reality.

At some point, someone who suffers a serious injury or their relative, should sue liberals who force their ideology onto impressionable young minds that lead them to actually believing such drek, and getting themselves into catastrophes.

TWS said...

Jody- no one told the snowboarders pot is not a performance enhancing drug. Someone needs to make a product to decrease 'chinese eyes'. I've never seen so many people with the 'condition' long-term. They all look like Robert Mitchum.

David said...

>Mortality is sexist the other way--women live longer.<

That's one thing gender equality can fix.

Whitehall said...

I once went ice skating in Breckenridge, Colorado. I got a hint that this might be dangerous when I noticed the advertisements from orthopedic surgeons and physical therapists lining the rink.

Anonymous said...

The thing about the Slippery Sports festival is, er, it's slippery underfoot. People fall and at speed on a hill, the landing isn't always soft.

But the Slippery Sports have very few actual person-to-person contests, which makes them into tests of circus skills. If it wasn't for electronic timing and the opinions of judges, most of the sports wouldn't exist.

I personally don't care much about men v women arguments over strength and so on, but I do think sports need to be seen to be who is best, the way running or jumping or throwing is in the summer Olympics. One person sliding faster against a finely calibrated clock isn't really that fascinating, but two people sliding in parallel might be.

Anonymous said...

"So much for the feminist mantra that "Anything Men Can Do, Women Can Do Better.""

Sports injuries - anything men can do women can do better.

Joseph Dooley said...

And most of the injuries have been sustained by women.

How long before John Branch is dismissed from the Times for the crime of Noticing?

Methinks the "war on women" narrative link he was desperately searching for here will save his tenure at the Paper of Record.

BurplesonAFB said...

I think the women's 100m should be run on a slight downhill slope and with a tailwind so they can finish in under 10s too. If it causes more injuries, it'll give them something to write Jezebel articles about (the whole trans-thing isn't really taking off), so that's a double bonus.

Jeff with a big one said...

"I personally don't care much about men v women arguments over strength and so on, but I do think sports need to be seen to be who is best, the way running or jumping or throwing is in the summer Olympics. One person sliding faster against a finely calibrated clock isn't really that fascinating, but two people sliding in parallel might be."

Your indifference is just genetic inclination. Many of us are addicted to speed at the edge. Men's downhill skiing, if you know what to look for, is often at the edge of human ability. Literally, there are skiers who go all out and are willing to die and that is a very real risk especially in training. Running the 100M presents no such mental challenge or mental dilemma. You are free to watch hurdlers and enjoy. I think that is great. For me, the fact that they are just running is no big deal. Yes, they are fast, but they climb to no edge. There is nothing that challenges the spirit every time. And that is why speed sports of the extreme nature, and big wave surfing, are so awesome: the protagonist has to decide between greatness and potential death.

Jeff with a big one said...

"My niece is 16 and has already had her knee reconstructed twice from soccer injuries. She's not the only one on her team, either. You're right - women just aren't as rugged. Their joints can't take as much punishment and they don't have as much muscle to protect the joints."

Women can be strong as all hell. The issue is more that their wide hips force more slip on the knee. It is not a strength issue. Check it out: https://blogs.stockton.edu/ryanj18/2013/09/21/acl-injuries-in-female-athletes/


Anonymous said...

Jody, if you read the NASCAR news in the sports section, you'll usually find "Danica Patrick was as high as (fill in the position) before she crashed".

Anonymous said...

And so it continues http://collegefootball.ap.org/article/woman-believed-perform-football-first-texas

Just Another Guy With a 1911 said...

"OF SNOW AND MEN"

By: Just Another Guy With a 1911

At the tender age of 15, I was trodding down the street with my buddy during a New England snow storm - a real, in the nomenclature of the local weatherman, "gully whumper". My buddy, "Alan', of German extraction, had decided, discretion being the better part of valor, to dismount his really, really expensive molybdenum Mongoose BMX bike. My bike, a Ross, and most definitely not made of molybdenum, was safely tucked away in the back of the garage at my house.

For some reason, in a fit on adolescent insanity, I decided that, now, with an inch of snow already on the ground, and viability reduced to barely being able to see the stop at the nearest intersection, would be the perfect - the perfect, time to demonstrate my "mad BMX skillz." Al was like, "Jeez,1911 are you sure? It's snowing and this bike cost my dad a ton of cash." But, heck, I was 15 and when you're 15 you are always ready to write those checks your body can't cash.

You can guess how this ends.

Well, it was one hell of wheelie - NAILED IT. I pulled up, quickly, without hesitation; all my weight was balanced on, oh, I don't know, maybe, a 1/12 of an inch of rubber on top of an inch of compressed snow. Like Wiley E. Coyote I hung there in space - motionless, wet snow clinging to my face, for what seemed to be forever and - then - then, I lost it. I fell back.

It was weird. Everything was in slow motion. I remember hitting the street, my arm at a weird angle (sort of a backwards "L")and hearing it crack like an old oak branch breaking; the Mongoose hit the pavement a few seconds later, oscillating up and down - without a sound, presumably absorbed by the snow and wind. I was sort of disappointed there was no epic and heroic sound track.

It hurt like hell, but I got up, assured Al that, hey, It was just a flesh wound; so I walked the block or so home to my house while the storm was raging and knocked on the back door. My mother answered and demanded to know why I was late for dinner; "Well, Ma", I said, "my arm is broken."

Of course, she thought this was just an excuse, and admonished me for what she presumed was base prevarication. But why would I lie? We were having Kraft Mac and Cheese - pure processed ambrosia. As Mom looked at me with a disbelieving and disapproving countenance she yelled for my Dad. "Get in here, 1911 says his arm is broken." Dad came out, and after some discussion on whether I was just making it all up, took my arm, and twisted it; I screamed like, natch, a little girl. Dad then pronounced that, in his expert medical opinion,my arm was, indeed, broken (in a couple different places as it turned out.)

Anyway, I discerned the truth that lies at the heart of all these edgy winter sports - "you're gonna break you're f*ing arm."

Anonymous said...

"Women can be strong as all hell."

Many of the soccer girls are on steroids, and still break their ACLs playing the game at a slower speed, even when no one's tackling.