Canadian Mark McMorris (Regina, Saskatchewan) has won the country’s first medal of the 2014 Olympic Winter Games, taking Bronze in snowboard Slopestyle on early Saturday morning.
It was the first time Slopestyle was in the Olympics and the first sport to hand out a medal in Sochi.
American Sage Kotsenburg took Gold and Norway’s Staale Sandbech took Silver. The 20-year-old McMorris finished with a final score (based off his best run) of 88.75, behind Sandbech’s 91.75 and Kotsenburg’s 93.50.
Canadian Maxence Parrot finished fifth with a score of 87.25, after leading all Slopestyle competitors in Sochi’s qualifying round. Canada’s other finalist, Sebastien Toutant, finished ninth with 58.50 and failed to land his final jump.
Judging the Judges
McMorris was heavily favoured to win Gold in Sochi’s Slopestyle, especially after American Shaun White pulled out to focus on the Halfpipe competition. But McMorris had to fight through a semi-final just to make it to the medal stage, after being slighted with a poor final score in the qualifying round.
“I didn’t get the score I wanted,” McMorris said on Thursday, after his first two runs left him fighting for a place in the finals. “I didn’t think my run was much different than anybody else. It sure as heck wasn’t sketchy. It felt really solid and clean.
“It’s pretty ridiculous, but it’s a judged sport, what can you do?”
Maxence Parrot also had a fantastic final run. Riding last, he was forced to wait and to see if he would win a medal before his fifth-place score was announced.
Finland’s Peetu Piiroinen (81.25, seventh) and Sweden’s Sven Thorgren (87.50, fourth) also had strong final runs, but couldn’t crack the 90.0 mark.
Marks were relatively similar to the finals at last year’s X Games, when McMorris took Gold with a best of 98.00 and Parrot won Silver with 90.00. While McMorris’ X Games mark was astronomical, the two Canadians were the only boarders to crack 90.00 in that competition.
VIDEO: Mark McMorris Primed For Stardom (FOX Sports)