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Sochi 2014: slopestyle course to be changed for snowboarding

The Winter Olympics organisers have agreed to make changes to the slopestyle course in Sochi after a number of competitors expressed their concerns during training at the “Extreme Park”. Norway’s Torstein Horgmo crashed and broke his collarbone in the process during the training sessions which are supposed to allow the competitors a chance to practice ahead of Thursday’s Snowboard slopestyle qualifying round.

Concerns have been raised about the rails at the start of the course and competitors want three jumps lowered. Horgmo was taken to a hospital with a neck brace on following his accident, but he’s not been completely ruled out of competition. The International Ski and Snowboard Federation (FIS) are blaming his injury on the jump he was attempting rather than the course itself but snowboarders are calling for changes.

Billy Morgan, a British snowboarder, is among those putting pressure on the organisers. "It's been a bit scary getting used to hitting the jumps," he told journalists. "The jumps weren't raked properly, which hopefully they can sort tomorrow so they are smoother and not as intense to land."

Finnish snowboarder Roope Tonteri also argued that the course isn’t safe, as did Jenny Jones, a British competitor who voiced her concern for her own safety and the safety of her competitors. "People are a little bit concerned about the speed," said Jones, who has three X Games gold medals in her collection. "I think the take-off isn't ideal from the jump, so that needs adjusting. We have voiced our opinions and everyone's in agreement with what needs to be tweaked."

This is the first Winter Games to feature Slopestyle so we’re not too surprised that there are teething problems. Cooler conditions are expected in the next few days which will allow the organisers to work on the course in time for the qualifying sessions on Thursday.

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