For the first time in history, competition in the Winter Olympics began before the opening ceremony. Three events kicked off the Sochi Games on Thursday, as slopestyle and team figure skating made their Olympic debuts while American Hannah Kearney remained dominant in women’s moguls.
Freestyle skiing – women’s moguls qualification
Kearney, the defending gold medalist in women’s moguls, proved why she is still the best in the world as she took the top spot in qualification Thursday.
The American finished with a score of 23.05, putting her .41 ahead of second place. Kearney managed that score despite difficulty on her second jump that earned her the lowest jump score of anyone that finished in the top 16. Her closest competitors, sisters Chloe, Justine, and Maxime Dufour-Lapointe, qualified second, third, and eighth respectively. American Eliza Outtrim finished fourth with a score of 21.51.
The top 10 advance to the final round while the remaining 20 competitors will face off in a second qualification round.
(1) Hannah Kearney (USA) – 23.05
(2) Chloe Dufour-Lapointe (CAN) – 22.64
(3) Justine Dufour-Lapointe (CAN) – 22.28
(4) Eliza Outtrim (USA) – 21.51
(5) Perrine Laffont (FRA) – 21.34
(6) Yulia Galysheva (KAZ) – 21.17
(7) Aiko Uemura (JPN) – 21.01
(8) Maxime Dufour-Lapointe – 20.88
(9) Audrey Robichaud (CAN) – 20.61
(10) Regina Rakhimova (RUS) – 20.48
Figure skating – team qualification
This new Olympic event began with the men’s short program qualification runs and saw the U.S.’ hopes for a medal in jeopardy.
Jeremy Abbott fell during his program, leaving him to finish in seventh place with a score of 65.65. At the beginning of his routine, he fell on a quad loop combination and wasn’t able to recover from there. He left the ice noticeably upset and dejected following his performance.
Crowd favorite Yevgeny Plushenko put on a show for his home country fans, finishing second in the short program. Japan’s Yuzuru Hanyu stole the show, though, as he took first place in qualifying with a tremendous score of 97.98. Canada’s Patrick Chan, one of the men’s singles gold medal contenders, finished third.
In pairs qualifying, Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov’s first place finish lifted Russia to first overall in the team competition. Their performance was above and beyond the rest of the competition, and their score of 83.79 proved it. Marissa Castelli and Simon Shnapir kept the Americans in the medal hunt after Abbott’s fall with a fifth place finish.
(1) Russia – 19 points
(2) Canada – 17 points
(3) China – 15 points
(4) Japan – 13 points
(5) Germany – 10 points
(6) France – 10 points
(7) USA – 10 points
(8) Italy – 8 points
(9) Ukraine – 5 points
(10) Great Britain – 3 points
Snowboarding – men’s and women’s slopestyle qualification
The road to a gold medal for favorite Mark McMorris of Canada became a little bit tougher on Thursday. Snowboarding with a broken rib suffered during the X Games, McMorris failed to qualify directly to the final on Saturday after falling during his first run. On his second run he earned a score of 89.25 but he will still have to compete for one of the final four spots.
McMorris’ countryman, Max Parrot, dominated qualifying with a score of 97.50 to lead all participants.
The qualifiers were placed into two heats and the top four finishers from each heat automatically qualified for the final. The closest American to reaching the finals was Chas Guldemond who finished fifth in heat one.
(1) Staale Sandbech (NOR) – 94.50
(2) Peetu Piiroinen (FIN) – 90.75
(3) Sebastien Toutant (CAN) – 87.25
(4) Jamie Nicholls (GBR) – 86.75
(1) Max Parrot (CAN) – 97.50
(2) Roope Tonteri (FIN) – 95.75
(3) Sven Thorgren (SWE) – 94.25
(4) Gjermund Bratten (NOR) – 91.25
In the women’s competition, American Jamie Anderson showed why she is a real contender for a medal in the event. Anderson posted a score of 93.50 in her first run and didn’t even attempt her second as she automatically qualified for the final. Defending halfpipe gold medalist Torah Bright of Australia also moved on to the final.
(1) Isabel Derungs (SUI) – 87.50
(2) Torah Bright (AUS) – 85.25
(3) Spencer O’Brien (CAN) – 82.75
(4) Enni Rukajärvi (FIN) – 79.00
(1) Anna Gasser (AUT) – 95.50
(2) Jamie Anderson (USA) – 93.50
(3) Elena Könz (SUI) – 86.25
(4) Karly Shorr (USA) – 84.75