Olympic Slopestyle Snowboarding Qualification Results: Sandbech & Gasser lead the field into finals

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Peetu Piiroinen, locking up 2nd place during slopestyle qualifiers | P: Rob Schumacher, USA TODAY Sports

Peetu Piiroinen, locking up 2nd place during slopestyle qualifiers | P: Rob Schumacher, USA TODAY Sports

The first ever Olympic Slopestyle contest has officially kicked off, with a few clueless announcers, controversial scoring, and eight riders set to compete in Saturday’s finals. While these eight, led by Maxence Parrot and Stale Sandbech, are locked into the main event, those that failed to qualify will have to compete for one of the last four spots early Saturday morning in the semifinals.

Stale Sandbech, Peetu Piiroinen, Sebastien Toutant and Jamie Nicholls came out on top after Heat One wrapped, with Maxence Parrot, Roope Tonteri, Sven Thorgren and Gjermund Braaten following their lead and stomping the top spots in Heat Two.

Conspicuously absent from the top of the qualifying results are Mark McMorris and Sage Kotsenburg, who couldn’t muster up scores high enough to lock in spots in finals, though they are favorites to medal. McMorris, who came into Sochi with a broken rib, fell hard on his first run, and though he rallied for a solid 89.25 on his second, he ended up with a 7th place and will be moving into semifinals.  Those viewers who actually knew what they were watching, ie. anyone besides the announcers, were in an uproar over McMorris’ second score, as Sal Masekela’s tweet succinctly exemplifies,

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Maxence Parrot, McMorris’ teammate on team Canada, topped the field with a 97.50 and his famously solid triple. Parrot is fresh off of a double Gold medal performance in the Winter X Games in Aspen just a few weeks ago, and is continuing to dominate the slopestyle scene in Sochi. As far as the US team is concerned, Sage Kotsenburg and Ryan Stassel ended qualifiers in 8th and 9th, respectively, with countryman Chas Guldemond coming to closest to finals, just missing out on the top four by .75 points.

Olympic Slopestyle Snowboarding Qualification Results:

Heat 1:

1. Stale Sandbech (NOR) 94.50
2. Peetu Piiroinen (FIN) 90.75
3. Sebastian Toutant (CAN) 87.25
4. Jamie Nicholls (GBR) 86.75

Heat 2:

1. Maxence Parrot (CAN) 97.50
2. Roope Tonteri (FIN) 95.75
3. Sven Thorgren (SWE) 94.25
4. Gjermund Braaten (NOR) 91.25

Also see: 2014 Sochi Olympic Snowboarding Event Schedule | #Trending: Riders react to Shaun White’s choice to ditch slope in Sochi

Moving onto the women’s qualifier, Swiss rider Isabel Derungs topped Heat One with an 87.50, followed closely by Torah Bright with an 87.25, Spencer O’Brien, and Finland’s own Enni Rukajarvi. After Heat Two wrapped, however, it was Anna Gasser who topped the field heading into finals, stomping a 95.50 with her first run and setting the bar for the rest of the competition.

Jamie Anderson, who is podium staple contest over contest and definitely a favorite to win Gold, came in second to Gasser, securing a spot in finals with the second highest score of the day, a 93.50. Anderson opted out of her second run after locking in her spot, saving up her energy for Sunday’s slope finals. Torah Bright, who is competing in three disciplines in Sochi — slopestyle, halfpipe and boardercross — didn’t fail to impress during qualis, taking second in Heat One and taking one step closer to yet another Olympic medal.

Jamie Anderson, taking second with her signature style | P: Brett Wilhelm/ESPN

Jamie Anderson, taking second with her signature style | P: Brett Wilhelm/ESPN

US riders Ty Walker and Jessika Jenson will head straight to semifinals, accompanied by Norwegian rider Silje Norendal, who beat Anderson for an X Games Gold in slope at the end of January, but couldn’t put down solid runs in her first Sochi performance.

Heat 1

1. Isabel Derungs (SWI) 87.50
2. Torah Bright (AUS) 85.25
3. Spencer O’Brien (CAN)82.75
4. Enni Rukajarvi (FIN) 79.00

Heat 2

1. Anna Gasser  95.50
2. Jamie Anderson (USA) 93.50
3. Elena Koenz (SWI) 86.25
4. Karly Shorr (USA) 84.75

More Olympic Content:
Sage Kotsenburg takes home Slopestyle Gold at Sochi 2014 Olympics, Sandbech & McMorris stomp Silver, Bronze
My Dream: Slopestyle makes its Olympic debut
A coach’s perspective on the Olympic Games: an interview with Ricky Bowers
Jamie Anderson wins Slope Gold in Sochi, Enni Rukajarvi & Jenny Jones take Silver, Bronze

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