Mark McMorris, slopestyle star, provided Canada's 1st medal in Sochi
Snowboarders captured 2 Olympic medals
The very first medal handed out in Sochi was in men's snowboard slopestyle, one of the new events, where competitors descend down the mountain on a course of rails and jumps, performing outrageously complicated stunts.
There were new events for snowboarders in slopestyle and parallel slalom, both for men and women. Many had been on the X Games programme for years but the Olympics thrust the events on to a much bigger audience.
"Heck yeah, it's the biggest stage in the world," said Jamie Anderson, who won the women's snowboard slopestyle.
"X Games is the biggest event in action sports but the Olympics is the biggest in the whole world."
Mark McMorris of Regina won Canada’s first medal in Sochi capturing bronze in the inaugural men's snowboard slopestyle event on Day 1 of the Games despite competing with a broken rib. McMorris, considered slopestyles top medal contender, fell in his first run of the final round. He needed a strong second run to land on the podium, and the 20-year-old delivered with a score of 88.75.
In halfpipe, the pressure was on for American Shaun White to clinch the three-peat in men’s snowboarding. Earlier in the week, White dropped out of the slopestyle event in order to prepare for halfpipe. White fell on his first run and wound up finishing fourth.
15-year-old Ayumu Hirano of Japan, who is still a high school student, won silver. Iouri Podladtchikov of Switzerland won gold. Derek Livingston of Aurora, Ont., was Canada’s top athlete finishing 10th in his heat, missing the semifinals by just one point.
In the women’s event American Kaitlyn Farrington won gold, Australia’s Torah Bright took silver and American Kelly Clark captured bronze. Clark won gold in 2006 and bronze at the 2010. Torah Bright made history competing in three different snowboard events — halfpipe, slopestyle and snowboard cross.
More snowboard cross hardware
Canada's Dominique Maltais won the silver medal in the women's snowboard cross event. It's the second Olympic podium for Maltais, a native of Petite-Rivière-Saint-François, Que., who was the bronze medallist at the 2006 Turin Olympics.
Eva Samkova, 20, of the Czech Republic won the gold in her first Olympic Games. The win marked the Czechs' first ever Olympic medal in snowboarding.
Reigning Olympic champion Maëlle Ricker of Squamish, B.C., crashed in her quarter-final heat and finished 21st. Medal favourite Lindsey Jacobellis of the U.S. went down in the semifinal and won the small final to finish seventh.
Unable to repeat
Defending Olympic champion Jasey-Jay Anderson of Mont-Tremblant, Que., failed to advance past the round of 16 in the men's snowboard parallel giant slalom in Sochi. Anderson, 38, has now competed at five Olympic Games and he wouldn't rule out making a return for 2018.
American-born Russian Vic Wild powered down the hill in the final to win gold. Nevin Galmarini of Switzerland fell to Wild in the final matchup to take silver, and Zan Kosir of Slovenia captured the bronze medal. Wild's wife Alena Zavarzina of Russia captured bronze in the women's snowboard parallel giant slalom event.
World Cup leader Patrizia Kummer of Switzerland came from behind in her final run to win Olympic gold.
Canadian snowboarders Marianne Leeson, Caroline Calvé and Ariane Lavigne were eliminated in the quarter-finals. Leeson finished a career-best fifth place while Calvé and Lavigne finished sixth and eighth respectively.
With files from Reuters.