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Canadian Laurie Blouin wins slopestyle gold at world championships

Canada's Blouin wins slopestyle title

Hours after winning the gold medal in slopestyle at the freestyle world championships, Canadian snowboarder Laurie Blouin still couldn't believe it.

"It feels good but I haven't fully realized it yet," the 20-year-old Stoneham, Que., native said in a phone interview with The Canadian Press on Saturday after scoring 78 points in Sierra Nevada, Spain, for her first world title. "I've realized it, but I haven't. It feels weird. 

"It was a hard call, I knew it was a good run but I wasn't expecting anything."

Zoi Sadowski Synnott of Australia was second with 77.5 points while Japan's Miyabi Onitsuka took bronze with 77.4. Canadian Booke Voigt was seventh.

Blouin landed a switch-backside 180 on her first jump, a frontside 540 on her second, a cab-900 double on her third and a backside-360 on her last jump to earn the top score.

A last-minute change in her routine, brought on by an uninspiring practice run, convinced her to swap a complicated switch-backside 540 for a much simpler opening jump.

The change paid off.

"I was landing it (in practice) but it wasn't looking good," Blouin said. "I'd rather do a smaller trick and it looks good and everything is perfect than do a trick that's kind of sketcky. So I changed that and I was happy about it."

She added: "I honestly didn't know if my run was good enough (for gold). It was hard to tell because my last jump was really short, the speed got slower so I didn't go too deep. But I had a double in my run and there's not too many girls who do a double.

Blouin has been competing internationally in slopestyle for about four years but started snowboarding when she was six, following in her older brother's footsteps.

When her brother stopped snowboarding, Blouin continued with the sport, eventually settling on slopestyle as her area of expertise.

"I like jumping," she said. "It's such a cool feeling. It's crazy because it's like you're flying. I just like the adrenaline of being in the air and landing big jumps."

Blouin's best international finish prior to Saturday was silver in two separate World Cup events — including one in Italy earlier this year.

Now, with a world championship title under her belt, her next goal is to make Canada's Olympic team for the 2018 Pyeongchang Games. 

"It (the world title) puts me in a really good position to qualify," she said. "I can't say 100 per cent I'm going to the Olympics because anything can happen. But it puts me in a good position and I'm really happy.

"It would mean the world to go to the Olympics and represent Canada, that would be just crazy."

Melissa Couto, The Canadian Press

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