We have been preparing for this week's IOC meeting for months. The decision over whether or not snowboard slopestyle would be added to the event lineup of the 2014 Winter Olympics was coming in April, they said, and it would most likely be positive. I have it on tape -- the words spoken directly from an IOC Executive Board member's mouth.
What would the decision be, we wondered? Yes or no? We talked to athletes, speculated on reactions to both scenarios. Shaun White said the decision would probably be postponed.
"If it's going to make it into the Olympics or not, I have my doubts," he said. "I've heard numerous people go, 'No, it's in. They put it in today. The red phone was picked up. Slopestyle is in. See you there.' And then they postpone it. So I wait."
And we rolled our eyes. Postpone? Really? They said April, Shaun. It's April now. All this waiting and speculation and anticipation is about to finally come to an end.
And then this morning, this happened: "A decision will be made in the coming month [regarding slopestyle] after further feasibility study," said Christophe Dubi, the IOC's sports director. "We need our experts to review the situation with the organizing committee, FIS as well, prior to making a final decision."
It could be that the reason the slopestyle decision was postponed today was because the IOC has been absorbed with women's ski jumping, and the question of whether or not the discrimination lawsuit, and subsequent bad press, would sway their hardline stance against adding it to the 2014 program. Maybe there just wasn't enough time left over to debate the merits of slopestyle, and they really do need another two months to think it over.
I've heard numerous people go, 'No, it's in. They put it in today. The red phone was picked up. Slopestyle is in. See you there.' And then they postpone it. So I wait.
But when your world revolves around one sport, it is easy to believe that it is located at the center of the universe. So it is more fun to speculate that the reason the decision has been postponed is because snowboarders have been organizing in opposition to the FIS takeover of Olympic slopestyle. The IOC has seen this movie before, and perhaps is finally taking the time to see if it can rewrite a better ending to this script.
This is what has happened inside of snowboarding in the last few months:
The TTR has reached out to FIS to start a dialogue about how the two organizations could work together to integrate an Olympic qualifying contest series into what already exists in the TTR World Tour in the event that slopestyle is added to the Olympic program. How this dialogue is proceeding, if it has gone anywhere at all, is at this point unknown.
W.A.S., the organization founded by Chas Guldemond and other top competitive slopestyle athletes to give snowboarders more of a say in how the events that they compete in are run, delivered a letter to the IOC last week expressing its opposition to FIS as an organizing body for Olympic qualification events.
At The Oakley Arctic Challenge in Norway -- which was one of the events the IOC was looking at to determine if slopestyle was Olympic-worthy -- Terje Haakonson explained to IOC Executive Board member Gerhard Heiberg that it would be foolish to ignore the voices speaking on behalf of competitive snowboarders this time around, since they have all finally figured out how to be collectively loud.
We can hope that this show of strength in the months leading up to this week's series of IOC meetings has had some effect. We can hope that the IOC needs time, not to decide if slopestyle is ready to be in the Olympics, but how to diminish potential controversies arising from the snowboarder's opposition to FIS once the decision is made. We can hope. And in the meantime, like White, we wait.