Winter Olympics 2014: 'Fridge kids' on thin ice at Sochi Games

Two young British snowboarders reach new heights at the Olympian snow event - and make the commentator slip up over their language

It was what everyone was thinking as they tuned in to yesterday’s inaugural men’s snowboarding slopestyle final: that they’d just “huck it” and give the new Winter Olympic sport a go.

That’s huck, with an “h”, meaning “to go for it” in snowboarder-ese. If only someone had briefed poor Hazel Irvine, the BBC commentator who cut short a post-final interview with Billy Morgan, apologising for bad language, after the 10th-placed Brit said he wanted to “go big or go home … I just thought ‘huck it!’”.

Verbal mishaps aside, Morgan, 24, and his team-mate Jamie Nicholls, 20, had armchair fans hooked on a thrilling if utterly bonkers event, which involves flying down a slope through a “terrain park” that makes the skateboarders’ lairs the length and breadth of Britain look tame. The 635m-long slopestyle course includes jumps – or kickers – plus obstacles such as boxes and rails that the snowboarders appear to levitate over, in between soaring skywards with an array of tricks, flips and spins, all with catchy names such as the “McTwist” or “double cork”.

The “backside triple 1440” that Nicholls landed on his first run down the Rosa Khutor mountainside was good enough to merit sixth place, which, believe it or not, made the Yorkshireman Britain’s best-placed male Winter Olympian at any snow (rather than ice-based) event. (The unfortunate Alain Baxter’s Salt Lake City bronze in 2002 was taken away after an unfortunate Vicks inhaler incident.) The gold – the first of the Sochi Games – went to Sage Kotsenburg of the US, with Norway’s Staale Sandbech getting silver, and Canada’s Mark McMorris the bronze.

Britain’s reputation for winter sport being what it is, the gnarly (more snowboarding lingo for you, Irvine) Brits have been dubbed the “fridge kids” because of where they train: mainly at indoor snow domes. That said, Nicholls started out at Halifax Ski and Snowboard Centre, which was originally covered with nothing more exciting than bristly brush known as Dendix, upgraded in 2000 to Snowflex. Either way, Halifax is no Val d’Isère, so it’s a bit of a miracle Brits are up there with the best in the world at an Alpine event.

Nicholls, who fell on his second run, was thrilled with how the pair did. “I’m happy we both made the final and got a top 10 finish. I don’t usually fall off the rails, but I’m really proud. The level was so high. If we have the facilities in the UK then maybe we’ll see some Brits on the podium in the next one.”

Before then, Brits Aimee Fuller and Jenny Jones compete in the women’s snowboard slopestyle semis from 6.30am GMT. Jones, 33, making her Olympic debut, has been at the top for more than a decade.

Whatever happens, one thing is certain: it’s all bound to make hucking good telly. And just for the record, Irvine, that’s not a misprint.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100(More than you think)
Arts and Entertainment
John Hurt will voice Prince Bolkonsky in Radio 4's War and Peace
radioRadio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
News
i100
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Avatar grossed $2.8bn at the box office after its release in 2009
filmJames Cameron is excited
News
news

Lincoln MP Karl McCartney 'denied all knowledge' of the Twitter activity

Arts and Entertainment
Joel Edgerton, John Turturro and Christian Bale in Exodus: Gods and Kings
filmDirector said film would 'never have been financed' with ethnic minority actors in key roles
Arts and Entertainment
Stik on the crane as he completed the mural
art
News
The author PD James, who died on 27 November 2014
people

Detective novelist who wrote Death comes to Pemberley passed away peacefully at her home, aged 94

Arts and Entertainment
Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1
arts + ents
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game
There's a Good Girl exhibition: How female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising

In pictures: There's a Good Girl exhibition

The new exhibition reveals how female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising
UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover - from advent calendars to doll's houses

UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover

It worked with cupcakes, doughnuts and macarons so no wonder someone decided to revamp the humble biscuit
Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

It's no surprise that the building game born in Sweden in 2009 and now played by millions, has imitators keen to construct their own mega money-spinner
The King's School is way ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology

Staying connected: The King's School

The school in Cambridgeshire is ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology. Richard Garner discovers how teachers and pupils stay connected
Christmas 2014: 23 best women's perfumes

Festively fragrant: the best women's perfumes

Give a loved one a luxe fragrance this year or treat yourself to a sensual pick-me-up
Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain celebrates century with trademark display of speed and intuition

Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund

The Ox celebrates century with trademark display of speed and intuition
Billy Joe Saunders vs Chris Eubank Jnr: When two worlds collide

When two worlds collide

Traveller Billy Joe Saunders did not have a pampered public-school upbringing - unlike Saturday’s opponent Chris Eubank Jnr
Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

Putin’s far-right ambition

Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

Escape to Moominland

What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?