Canada is off to a flying start at the Olympic Winter Games with the debut of men’s snowboard slopestyle preceding Friday’s Opening Ceremony.
X Games champion Maxence Parrot of Bromont, Québec (pictured above) leads the field after qualifying directly to the final with a score of 97.50; he will be joined there by fellow Quebecker Sébastien Toutant.
Parrot said of his leading score “I’m just having fun out there. I have practiced my run a lot in the past few months. The course is really good and fair; I think it’s perfect.”
Many fans on social media expressed frustration over McMorris’ low score after what looked like a flawless second run and the boarder himself isn’t sure what cost him points.
“It’s a tough sport. I guess they (the judges) weren’t on my side. It felt really clean, smooth and technical,” McMorris said. “I’m just kind of bummed out. I’m really happy with the way I rode. I’m happy I get another shot on Saturday.”
Women’s snowboard slopestyle featuring Courtenay, British Columbia’s Spencer O’Brien saw her go straight to the final with a third place finish in her heat. Her best run generated a score of 82.75. O’Brien stumbled slightly on her second outing but had done enough to earn a direct shot at a medal on Saturday.
“It’s really nerve-racking to do qualifiers,” O’Brien reflected, “when I strapped in, it hit me how much work I have done to get here. I think it is a wonderful thing to celebrate this sport. I’m really excited for the world to see what we do.”
Kitchener, Ontario’s Jenna Blasman had a top score of 60.25 in her first run. That was her best score and it carries her to the semifinals.
The semis and final will take place on February 8 in the men’s event. O’Brien and Blasman will compete the following day.