One of the standout moments of the Beijing Winter Olympics has been marred by controversy which has caused outrage in the host nation. Follow the latest news.
He beat cancer, but did the Olympic snowboard slopestyle judges miss a trick in awarding the gold medal to Canada’s Max Parrot?
Parrot was diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma months after the PyeongChang Olympics where he had won silver, and his comeback from dealing with that medical setback has been inspirational.
But during the Beijing slopestyle final on Monday – the event that requires mastery of rails and three big air tricks down a long course – Parrot’s final score was mired in controversy.
On the second of three runs, Parrot was given his highest score of 90.96, but the judges appear to have missed the Canadian’s failed grab in the air.
Commentators calling the event live and backed up with the benefit of slow motion replays, from Australia’s Channel 7 experts Mitch Tomlinson and Ryan Tiene to the BBC’s Ed Leigh all noticed the small error and expressed surprise that the high score did not reflect the execution of the trick.
Leigh said it was a glaring error, “highly controversial” and exposed a big judging discrepancy.
Tiene said during the live call: “He missed the grab there. He had to grab onto his leg.”
“You did see him go for the grab, miss it twice and realised, ‘hey, if I don’t grab my leg’, I might get really smashed.”
But when the score flashed up fellow commentator Tomlinson was stunned.
“Oh, did they not see that?”
“They didn’t see it – a 90.96, with a leg grab thrown in.
“That’s not good for snowboarding.”
The error cost China’s Su Yiming a gold medal. Yiming, who was a child actor, decided to concentrate on professional snowboarding once his hometown was awarded the Olympic Games, won the silver medal.
Parrot didn’t refer to the controversial grab in interviews afterwards.
He said of that run: “I’m incredibly proud of myself on the run I did today, it was the hardest one I’ve ever done in my entire career. “I was able to stay focused and to lay down every feature perfectly, which got me to 90 and got me the gold medal that I was missing in my career.”
He told the Toronto Sun of the impact of his cancer treatment exactly three years ago: “I had no more muscles, no more energy, no more cardio. I remember I was drawn by my treatments. “I almost wanted to quit sometimes because it was getting so hard just to get to the next morning.
“To be standing here three years later and winning gold, that is completely crazy.”
Parrot’s teammate Mark McMorris had the final attempt of the day and nailed a superb run that he believed would edge him near the gold medal.
Instead McMorris, who has also come back from devastating multiple fractures, a ruptured spleen and collapsed lung after colliding with a tree in a high speed snowboard accident several years ago finished with the bronze.
“Definitely was anticipating a bit higher of a score,” McMorris said. “But sometimes when you finish a run, you don’t really recall some of the like maybe little bobbles you had or whatnot.”
Originally published as Winter Olympics 2022: Canada’s Max Parrot wins Beijing slopestyle in controversial result