All photos: Sam Mellish
Night shift: Tom Copsey, Andrew Duthie, Sam McMahon, Ed Blomfield, Tristan Kennedy
After yesterday’s qualifiers whittled down the field, today was business time for riders who’d made the cut for the men’s Olympic Slopestyle finals. Here’s how it panned out and who took home that all-important bling…
Despite challenging conditions, we were treated to some solid – if not stellar – slopestyle riding in the previous day’s qualifiers (along with a dash of judging outrage controversy, naturally), where the impressive-looking course got its first rinsing. What we took away from the first runs was that there’s not much room between those rail features, comparing crosscourt hits against straight jumps is an imprecise science, and lots of people like Miller Flips.
“There was no room for playing safe today, however, and if ever the clichés ‘go big or go home’, ‘spin to win’ and ‘turn it up to 11’ are relevant it’s in an Olympic final”
The field was the same for everyone, though, and while there were a couple of surprises (ultra-spinner Chris Corning not making it through; the under-the-radar Carlos Garcia Knight posting the second highest score of Heat 1), for the most part the big name slope badboys all coped admirably, and proceeded to the Final without having to go all-in.
There was no room for playing safe today, however, and if ever the clichés ‘go big or go home’, ‘spin to win’ and ‘turn it up to 11’ are relevant it’s in an Olympic final when you’ve spent the best part of two years trying to earn a seat at the table. It all. Comes down. To this.
Unlike the two-run qualis, today’s finalists had three shots at putting down a run that counted, and while the weather was clearer, tempertatures had dropped again and – importantly – gusts of wind were causing problems. With nothing to be done about that, we buckled in for the ride. Niklas Mattsson had the honor of getting the ball rolling, while Max Parrot (as the highest scored qualifier) got the advantage of being the last in the field to drop.
Riders (in drop order): Niklas Mattsson, Seppe Smits, Torgeir Bergrem, Tyler Nicholson, Mons Roisland, Ståle Sandbech, Seb Toutant, Red Gerard, Carlos Garcia Knight, Mark McMorris, Marcus Kleveland, Max Parrot.
*Mons Roisland didn’t make finals due to a savage crash in practice. Get better soon Mons!