In the context of sports, should it be possible to attain a “perfect” score? Put differently, is a judge or panel of judges ever justified in awarding the maximum score possible? Such questions are relevant to a great many sports: gymnastics, diving, and ice skating, to name just a few. With this in mind, Sports Shorts turns its attention to the sport of snowboarding in the light of recent events.
The legacy of Shaun White
Last week at the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, Shaun White, by all accounts the greatest snowboarder in the sport’s history and certainly its most recognisable name, secured the halfpipe gold medal for a record third time.
Like Federer on the court, Phelps in the pool, and Bolt on the track, White has transcended his sport. Amidst daily headlines that youngsters are dominating the slopes, at 31 years of age White is proof that, for some, age is just a number as he continues not so much to defy the odds as rewrite them.
Controversially, however, a few weeks before the Olympics, at the U.S. Grand Prix of Snowmass in Colorado, White executed a run for which he received a score of 100, the highest possible. On only one other occasion has a 100 score been awarded, which also went to White at the 2012 Winter X Games.
This did not sit comfortably with some, least of all his competition, some of whom clearly felt that the judges erred in their assessment. Perhaps because White executed the very trick which in October had landed him in intensive care requiring 62 stitches to his face, the judges couldn’t resist this perfect denouement.