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FIS rule change leads to Crystal Globe confusion for Freestyle Canada

CP-Web.  Noah Bowman reacts to learning his winning score in the men's ski modified superpipe final Sunday, Feb. 9, 2020, at the Winter Dew Tour at Copper Mountain, Colo. (Liz Copan/Summit Daily News via AP) ORG XMIT: COFRI902
CP-Web. Noah Bowman reacts to learning his winning score in the men's ski modified superpipe final Sunday, Feb. 9, 2020, at the Winter Dew Tour at Copper Mountain, Colo. (Liz Copan/Summit Daily News via AP) ORG XMIT: COFRI902

Internally, Noah Bowman must have been crushed.

To the media, though, he betrayed nothing.

On Friday night in his hometown of Calgary, Bowman skied out of the halfpipe and had every reason to believe he’d won the 2019-’20 Crystal Globe as the overall World Cup season winner.

But a change in the FIS scoring system that the Canadian Freestyle Ski team was unaware-of meant that despite all indications, Bowman had to settle for second place.

On Saturday afternoon, the Canadians were still trying to work their way through the confusion.

“It appears what happened is FIS had a rule changed that allowed one event to be thrown out of the five-event sample size,” said Peter Judge, CEO of Freestyle Canada. “That rule, apparently — we’re still trying to validate — but it was passed in the spring of 2018 but didn’t take effect until this season. The biggest problem, inside of that, was that their website and their calculations were reflecting the old calculation system, so everybody, they’re looking at their phone and they’re seeing Noah Bowman (won the Crystal Globe) and then there’s another announcement. It was a huge piece of confusion.”

Prior to this season, the Crystal Globe had gone to the skier with the most points in the overall standings after all of the events.

But the new rule includes only four of the five events, with an athlete’s worst result getting discarded.

American Aaron Blunck, who ended up being awarded the Crystal Globe, didn’t qualify for Friday night’s halfpipe final at Canada Olympic Park, and by Freestyle Canada’s calculations that meant that Bowman’s fifth-place finish had him leapfrogging Blunck and ending the world cup season with the most overall points.

The champagne was ready to be popped. In any other year, that would have earned Bowman the Crystal Globe and there would have been a rapturous celebration in front of his friends and family in his hometown.

Not this year, though.

Had all five events counted towards the Crystal Globe, Bowman would have finished with 365 points and Blunck would have had 360.

Under the new scoring system, Blunck wound up with 340 points and Bowman finished with 320. Both had their scores in Calgary dropped, where Bowman earned 45 points and Blunck added 20 to his total.

“I don’t know the exact breakdown of the scores. I guess they take the top four results overall. I’m not fully aware of how it works,” Bowman said immediately after the podium and Crystal Globe presentations on Friday night. “I wanted the Crystal Globe, for sure, but it’s been an amazing season going head-to-head with Blunck the whole time. It’s been the best season of my life and I’m super proud of what I’ve achieved.”

While Bowman stayed classy, the way things played out Friday was confusing for the Canadian team and they will be attempting to figure out how the rules weren’t better communicated in the coming days and weeks.

“(It’s) confusing. For us, now, we have to go back and sift through the rules and get this straight. The (international federation) should have probably been a little more attentive to dealing with that,” Judge said. “Mistakes happen. Unfortunately, it’s one of those where on home soil, for a home kid to win a world cup title in his hometown, that’s a pretty special thing.”

daustin@postmedia.com

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