Canada's Laurie Blouin, Spencer O'Brien advance to big air final

Alberta's Brooke Voigt fails to advance with 17th-place finish

Canada's Laurie Blouin, Spencer O'Brien advance to big air final
Canada's Spencer O'Brien, above, and Laurie Blouin have qualified for the big air final on Monday in Pyeongchang. © Guillaume Horcajuelo/EPA-EFE

By CBC Sports

Canadian Laurie Blouin is fourth after the qualifying round of the women's big air competition at the Olympics in Pyeongchang.

The snowboarder from Stoneham, Que., suffered a head injury when she fell during training for the women's slopestyle on Feb. 9, but went on to win a silver medal in that event, despite poor weather conditions.

She scored 92.25 in her second qualifying run Monday for the big air competition in a much easier, less windy environment.

"That was perfect. In slopestyle we didn't have the chance to show the world what women's snowboarding is capable of and we just did — I think it has really demonstrated how we can snowboard," said Blouin.

In big air, the best score from two runs counts.

"The jump is really good. Honestly I would say it is the perfect size and everything is just really smooth. So I think it is the perfect jump for us to show what we are capable of," said Blouin.

Spencer O'Brien of Courtenay, B.C., was 11th after earning 76.75 points in her second run.

The top 12 competitors advance to Friday's finals.

"I'm so excited. I kind of played a little bit of strategy there, played it a little safer rather than trying a different trick. And it paid off," said O'Brien.

Austria's Anna Gasser was first in qualifying with 98.00 points in her second run, followed up by Japan's Yuka Fujimori (94.25) and Reira Iwabuchi (92.75).

A third Canadian in the event, Brooke Voigt, failed to advance past qualifying.

As the final approaches on Friday, Blouin said she has one more trick up her sleeve.

"Big trick for final. [In] qualies the ladies were going pretty heavy. It's nice to see that because slopestyle we didn't have the chance to show what we're capable of," said Blouin. "Yeah, it's gonna be a big final."

It would be even bigger if the Quebec native picks up her second medal of the Games.

"I think I would maybe cry. That would be crazy. I'm just riding, no stress, having fun, riding confidently."

With files from The Canadian Press