America has fallen in Olympic love with snowboarding and its announcers

Tanya Ray Fox

There’s no doubt about it: snowboarding is the breakout hit of the 2018 Winter Olympics, at least for the American viewers.

Team USA has already hauled in three gold medals in PyeongChang, courtesy of 17-year-olds Red Gerard (men’s slopestyle) and Chloe Kim (women’s halfpipe) as well as 27-year-old Jamie Anderson in women’s slopestyle. The legendary Shaun White, who has spent the better part of the new millennium bridging the gap between the X-Games and the Olympics, is also currently favored to win the gold in Men’s halfpipe.

While snowboarding has been included in the Olympics since 1998, the introduction of new events over the last two decades — including big air snowboarding this year — has helped to draw not just more attention from the viewers but also better talent from around the globe. The aforementioned Americans have people tuning in who have never watched extreme sports.

(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

White is inarguably the biggest star ever to come out of skateboarding, and like him or not, his success as an Olympic snowboarder has played an immense role in popularizing skateboard culture.

For a long time, skateboarders were a niche community that drew disdainful side-eye from the establishment. Now their quirky lingo, including hunger-inducing trick names like the Double McTwist and Chicken Salad, is featured prominently on the international stage; and people are increasingly enamored with the non-traditional vibe of the sport and its announcers.

If you’re looking for it, you’ll find a healthy dose of cynicism from haters who are irritated by the objectively unique terminology and surfer dude disposition of the guys in the booth. However they are buzzkills and should be ignored. There are many more people who are just having fun with it, which is the attitude that best represents the culture of extreme sports.

With teenagers dominating the sport as veteran trailblazers leave their final impressions on the events that they helped to shape, snowboarding is becoming the future of the Winter Olympics. So if you’re aren’t already, it’s time to get on board. No pun intended.

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