WATCH: Canada off to strong start on slopes. Paul Johnson reports.
TORONTO – Saskatchewan’s Mark McMorris was off to a rough start at the Sochi Olympics after finishing seventh in the qualifying round of the men’s snowboard slopestyle event.
McMorris, a medal favourite, finished his first run with a score of 29.50 after falling near the start of his run. The injured boarder finished strongly in his second run with a score of 89.25.
READ MORE: How safe is the Sochi slopestyle course?
“Obviously my first run was unfortunate; I fell on something I shouldn’t have fallen on. It felt really good pain-wise, riding-wise,” McMorris said. “I put it down as clean as I could have in my second run, and I didn’t get the score I wanted. It’s hurting mentally a little bit.”
McMorris fractured his rib nearly two weeks ago after catching the tip of his snowboard on a rail and landed hard on a bar before hitting the snow.
Meanwhile, Quebec natives Maxence Parrot and Sebastien Toutant had a solid outing after both snowboarders advanced to the men’s slopestyle final.
WATCH: Parrot and Toutant discuss qualifying for Saturday’s final and what they plan to change
Toutant finished third in the opening qualifying heat Thursday morning at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park by posting a score of 87.25 in his second run of the first heat.
Parrot advanced to the medal round after posting a score of 97.5, the highest score of the day, in his second run of the final heat.
“I got a good score, and I’m really happy that I was been able to stomp my triple cork,” Parrot said. “I just had a beautiful run… I think this is a perfect course.”
Fellow Canadian Charles Reid finished ninth in his heat with a score of 75.50.
All athletes competing in the qualifying round automatically advance to the semi-finals. However, the top four from each heat move directly to Saturday’s final.
McMorris and Reid will have a chance to make it to the medal round at the semi-finals on Saturday.
Competition began nearly 32 hours before the official opening ceremony.
The early start was needed because of the 12 men’s and women’s medal events added since the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, slopestyle being one of them.
Figure skating is also underway ahead of Friday’s ceremonies.
The first medals will be handed out Saturday.
© Shaw Media, 2014