2014 Winter Olympics: Slopestyle, skiing and figure skating
Kicking off the games was the men’s and women’s slopestyle first qualification round in snowboarding. After two rounds per heat, the riders with the four highest scores in each made in threw straight to the final round.
Canadian contender Maxence Parrot posted the highest score of the day with a 97.5, securing him a spot directly in the 12-person finals. Joining Parrot will be fellow Canadian Sebastien Toutant who finished third in the first heat.
Teammates Charles Reid and Mark McMorris finished shy of the top eight and will look to be amongst the four qualifiers from the Saturday morning semi-finals. Parrot and Toutant will have a small advantage for the final on Saturday as they’ll be well rested compared to those who will have to compete earlier in the day. Finland’s Roope Tonteri was the only other competitor to score about 95 with a 95.75.
On the women’s side, Canadian Spencer O’Brien finished third in her heat with a 82.75, which has given her a bye into the twelve person final. Teammate Jenna Blasman finished sixth in her heat and will compete with 14 other competitors for the final four spots in the final. Austrian Anna Grasser and American Jamie Anderson were the only two athletes to score above 90 with a 95.5 and a 93.5. Anderson is a four-time X Games gold medalist in the event with four more podium finishes to boot, which makes a podium spot a definite possibility.
Freestyle skiing kicked off with the women’s moguls qualification with defending champion Hannah Kearney dominating and easily finishing first. The top ten finishers advanced directly in the final, avoiding the second round of qualification for the last ten spots.
This was something that was favourable for Canada as all four entries finished between second and ninth. Chloe Dufour-Lapointe scored 22.64 to secure second, while her sisters Justine and Maxime finished third and eighth. Audrey Robichaud rounded out the Canadians with ninth. This will definitely be an event to watch on Saturday as all four Canadians have placed themselves into strong contender spots and have shown that a medal — or even two — are well within their grasps.
The team figure skating event started off next with the men taking the ice first for the short program. Three-time defending World Champion Patrick Chan had a less than stellar performance that left him in third. Yuzuru Hanyu from Japan delivered a solid performance followed by another solid performance from Russia’s Evgeni Plushenko. After underwhelming comeback attempts in past years, Plushenko looks like his form from his 2006 Olympic Championship performance could be back.
Next was the pairs short, which was dominated by the first place finish of Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov from Russia, the defending World Champions. Meghan Duhamel and Eric Radford put up a great performance for Canada as they secured second place, which may end up being crucial in the standings. The Chinese pair of Peng Cheng and Zhang Hao rounded out the top three with third.
Going into the final two short programs Saturday, Russia sits first with 19 points. Canada is in second with 17, followed by China with 15 and then Japan with 13. Surprisingly, the Americans are back in seventh with ten points, but could make a large jump depending on the Ice Dance and women’s results. Either way, Canada looks poised to make it in to the top five and contend for at least a bronze in the event.