Snowboarding

Kate Pettersen - Friday Jan. 3, 2014 13:16 ET

Mark McMorris leads Canada's Olympic snowboard team

Final members of team to be named Jan. 21

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Canada's Mark McMorris headlines a talented Canadian Olympic snowboard team headed for the Sochi 2014 Olympic Games. (Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
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Canada is poised for success in Sochi with a snowboard team loaded with talent.

The Canadian Olympic Team officially announced the first group of snowboard athletes to compete in Sochi at a press conference in Vancouver, B.C., on Friday.

The star studded roster includes 19-year-old Mark McMorris of Regina, Sebastien Toutant of L’Assomption, Que., and Spencer O’Brien of Courtenay, B.C., who will compete in slopestyle, a new event on the Olympic roster.

McMorris, a two-time X Games gold medalist in slopestyle, started the season with a win at Dew Tour in Breckenridge, Colo.

Also named to the team are Olympic snowboard cross champion Maëlle Ricker of Squamish, B.C., along with teammate Chris Robanske of North Vancouver, B.C.

“I’m very proud to be part of this talented group of athletes and have the chance to represent Canada at another Olympic Games,” said Maëlle Ricker, current Snowboard Cross World Champion. “The entire Canada Snowboard coaching team and support staff has been working hard to make sure we are fully prepared and ready for success in Sochi.”

Ricker made her season debut at a World Cup in Lake Louise, Alta., in December finishing fourth.

Steven Hills, Executive Director at Canada Snowboard was at the announcement to support the talented group of athletes.

“These five athletes show that Canada is one of the leading nations in competitive snowboarding,” he said.

“They are currently recognized as the best in the world in both slopestyle and snowboard cross. I am confident that their hard work and passion for snowboarding will place them on the podium and assist the Canadian Olympic Team in gaining top spot in Sochi.”

The rest of the Canadian Olympic snowboard team will be announced in Quebec City on Jan. 21.

One surprise from today’s announcement was Olympic veteran Dominique Maltais not being named to the preliminary team. Maltais has pre-qualified for Sochi based on her results from last season.

Maltais is the reigning World Cup title holder and currently sits atop the World Cup standings from this season.  She is expected to make her third Olympic appearance in Sochi.

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