Olsson returns to big air, clashes with FIS
In a break from his ski racing career earlier this fall, former Winter X Games medalist Jon Olsson returned to the urban big air contests that take place early season in Europe. He placed eighth at Relentless Freeze in London, 12th at Freestyle.ch in Zurich, and seventh at King of Style in Stockholm.
"I have done all the city events here in Europe over the past few years so I never gave that up at all," Olsson says. "It's just the X Games that I am not doing. I love these events and I will try to do them for as long as I can."
He won't compete in another freeskiing contest until his Jon Olsson Invitational next spring. "I wish I could do more but it's a bit tight in my schedule," he says.
Olsson is currently working on qualifying for the 2014 Winter Olympics in ski racing for his home country of Sweden. "I am just getting started -- if I run out of time I will just go for 2018," he says. "I love what I do and will keep doing it for as long as my body allows me to."
When asked if he'd consider trying to make the Olympics for Ski Slopestyle, which will make its Olympic debut in 2014, he said, "I love jumping but with the rails in Slopestyle I have a hard time seeing myself in there. I think I am too old for metal in the slopes, but maybe I can forerun the Slopestyle."
Olsson has been making headlines in the ski racing world lately due to his outspoken opposition to the International Ski Federation (FIS)'s recent approval of a new rule modifying the turning radius and length of skis that would be allowed in FIS-sanctioned races. In a recent post by American ski racer Ted Ligety, who also opposes the new ski length rule, Ligety wrote, "Word is that FIS is thinking about suing Jon Olsson for his choice comments he made on his blog about the ski regulations and posting 'FIS SUCKS' logo on his site."
FIS is in fact not suing Olsson: "Jon Olsson was an example discussed by the FIS Council regarding the unauthorized use of a registered FIS trademark (specifically, the FIS logo) and methods used by FIS to enforce their protection," said Riikka Rakic, FIS communications manager. "However no action was taken by FIS in this case and the matter was referred to the Swedish Ski Association to deal with."
Niklas Carlsson at the Swedish Ski Association said the incident was no big thing. "Jon posted a note on his website, where he criticized the FIS decision, and on top of this article he had a photo of the FIS Sucks logo," Carlsson said. "I sent Jon an email and asked him to remove the logo, [saying] it would not be well received if he uses it. Regarding the text, I said he is free to write what he wants." Olsson promptly removed the logo and left the text unchanged.
"I think that FIS is hurting the sport a lot with these new rules and that they don't care or respect what the athletes think," Olsson told ESPN. "The new rules make no sense and will not make the sport safer, it will just kill the best part of this sport as carving great turns will no longer be possible. So with this in mind I posted a FIS sucks logo on my blog, and I was told to take it down. I did so because I respect the person that asked me but my opinion is still the same."
Added Olsson: "If this were freestyle, we would all come together and stand on the sidelines until they changed their mind. Unfortunately, the ski racers are not united enough to do so."