Dubi: Halfpipe course is safe
IOC sport director Christophe Dubi has sought to allay fears about the safety of the Sochi 2014 snowboard halfpipe course.
Several athletes have voiced concerns over the course in the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park ahead of the halfpipe competition, which is scheduled to start on Tuesday with United States star Shaun White defending his title in the men's competition.
White's team-mate Danny Davis criticised the pipe's flat bottom - the area which acts as a transition between the 22-foot wall on either side - claiming it was bumpy and full of sugary snow which posed problems for riders.
But Dubi told a Sochi 2014/IOC press briefing on Monday that governing body the International Ski Federation (FIS) had approved the course pre-Games.
"As far as halfpipe is concerned we have FIS which is responsible for the organisation and the management of its competitions," said Dubi.
"The (Sochi ) Organising Committee will take instruction as far as any modifications or adjustments are concerned from FIS.
"Then you have the riders and you have their captains that are discussing together. So this is a process coming from the riders to the captain, who raise the issues at the level of FIS.
"What I should say, though, is the Federation approved on the ground of technical requirements the venues.
"The venues have been tested, tested a number of times, so now it is the final adjustments of the course that will take place."
Men's slopestyle gold medallist Sage Kotsenburg said similar concerns had been raised about the safety of the slopestyle course before Saturday's competition.
"As far as the slopestyle side of things goes, people came out and said that it was dangerous and deemed it actually unsafe to ride, which I think was pretty absurd because people have competed in big contests like X Games and Dew Tour and contests like that," he said'
"None of us are the ones saying those things, it is people who haven't experienced a big course before. The course side of things was awesome."
On the Olympic debut of women's ski jumping on Tuesday, Dubi said course preparation was "always evolving" prior to competition.
"You have course adjustments after the first trainings; you have the team captain meetings in which the adjustments are debated. So safety always comes as a first priority for international federations.
"We have a very good collaboration with them. We feel that between the organisers, the international federation and the IOC there is great collaboration to ensure safety."
Dubi welcomed the impact made by new sports like slopestyle and stressed their popularity with a younger audience.
"For the IOC what is at play is to review the programme on a regular basis to make sure it remains relevant.
"Of course, we need to have and to preserve our history. It is very important. At the same time we have to remain relevant and make sure that we capture new audience as well.
"The barometer for me is the kids we have around us. I have one 11 years old and I can tell you he is following Sage, and others of our new events, keenly in front of the TV but also consuming on the internet.
"We also have new formats with a number of team events that are coming up. This also will be really interesting and it creates, and you saw that with the figure skating team event, a new dynamic between the skaters and we will see this in the other sports such as biathlon, luge and others.
"All in all it is a great start for sport, a great start for new events."
Dubi also made reference to upcoming changes in the summer Olympics sport programme with golf and rugby being introduced for Rio 2016.
He said: "We agree that we haven't changed the programme much over the last few editions but it is still a very successful programme. Then we are excited to have golf and rugby making a grand entrance in Rio.
"So there as well we are pulling probably a different kind of audience, especially on the golf side. Not probably the extreme one you would be looking for, but, still, when you are a golfer you are a golfer for life and we know that it is a massive community.
"Same thing for rugby, culturally it is embedded; in many countries where you have rugby on TV, you follow rugby."