Enni Rukajärvi won Olympic bronze at the slopestyle snowboarding finals Monday morning. Rukajärvi’s score of 75.38 was beat by gold-winning Jamie Anderson from team USA with 83.00 points, and Canada’s Laurie Blouin who scored 76.33.
The competition got off to a rocky start when gusts of wind forced the qualifying rounds to be cancelled. As a result all 26 competitors were through to the final, but only two runs were held, instead of the standard three.
Rukajärvi scored big on her second run with a score winning third place. This was Rukajärvi’s second Olympic medal following her silver at Sochi four years ago.
The medal was no easy feat after she secured a measly score of 45.85 after a fall in her first run, with ongoing wind gusts creating difficult conditions for the contestants.
Rukajärvi herself did not shy away from commenting on the weather conditions during the competition.
”I almost didn’t do the second run," said Rukajärvi. "I was thinking should I leave it out because anything could happen. The wind affected quite a few jumps making the landings pretty dangerous. It was pretty dangerous out there.”
On the day of the finals, the start time was pushed back one hour due to erratic wind gusts. When the competition was eventually underway, the gusts of wind created varying conditions for each competitor, resulting in an uneven playing field.
”It’s hard to say whether or not it was the right decision to hold the competition,” said Blouin afterwards. Anderson agreed but said the conditions weren’t ideal.
”I think it was the wrong decision," said Rukajärvi. "During the practice runs the weather was OK, but then the conditions got worse. The competition should have been rescheduled. It was good luck nobody got hurt.”
When speaking with the Finnish media Rukajärvi commented about her candid remarks that ”as a Finn I want to be honest. Even though I am very happy with my medal, that was dangerous.”
In addition to her now two Olympic medals, Rukajärvi has also had frequent success in other tournaments such as the X Games, FIS Snowboard World Championships and the World Snowboarding Tour.