Mark McMorris wins bronze in slopestyle snowboarding
Canada's 1st medal of Sochi Games
Canada has its first medal of the Sochi Olympics.
Mark McMorris of Regina won bronze Saturday in the men's snowboard slopestyle event on Day 1 of the Games.
"To get on the podium is just a dream come true," said McMorris. "I can't explain this. I've just been through a roller coaster over these last few weeks."
McMorris was touted as a gold-medal favourite leading up to the Games. He suffered a setback when he fractured a rib two weeks ago at the X Games, and a disappointing qualifying round in Sochi forced him to compete in the semifinal earlier Saturday in order to earn a spot in the final.
McMorris fell on the landing of his final jump in the opening run of the final and scored 33.75 points. He needed a strong second run to land on the podium, and the 20-year-old delivered with a score of 88.75.
American Sage Kotsenburg won gold with a score of 93.5, and Staale Sandbech of Norway won silver with 91.75.
"I'm really excited," said Kotsenburg. "It feels awesome. I don't know what to call it. I have no idea what's actually going on. This is the craziest thing that ever happened."
Maxence Parrot of Bromont, Que., who was the top rider in qualifying, finished fifth. Sebastien Toutant of L'Assomption, Que., was ninth.
Like McMorris, Parrot struggled with the landing on the final jump of his first run, needing to improve on his score of 47.0 in the final run. He battled back to score a 87.25.
Toutant scored 58.50.
American Shaun White, considered a top slopestyle contender, pulled out of competition earlier in the week to focus on the halfpipe event.