Parrot tops slopestyle qualifying, McMorris puzzled by his score

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.

Mark McMorris fell on his first run, but recovered to score 89.25 on his second. The pride of Regina, Saskatchewan is through to the semifinals along with Charles Reid of Mont-Tremblant, Québec.

Max Parrot

Max Parrot

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.”

WATCH: McMorris’ journey to Sochi 2014

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.

Spencer O'Brien

Spencer O’Brien

“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.

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