Snowboarders Rowan Coultas, Billy Morgan and Jamie Nicholls after their big air qualifiers.

SNOWBOARD: MEN’S BIG AIR QUALIFYING at Apensia Ski Jumping Centre

Team GB Results
Heat 1: Rowan Coultas 8th (17th overall), Jamie Nicholls 11th (23rd overall)
Heat 2: Billy Morgan 6th (qualified for final)

Snowboarder Billy Morgan has kept the flag flying for GB Park and Pipe by qualifying for the inaugural Olympic final of the men’s big air.

Competing in the second heat and needing a top six finish to qualify for the final, Morgan was in sixth after the first run and then upped his score to 90.50 on the second, however he still sat in the final qualifying position. He was then forced to watch six more riders come down behind him but none were able to better his score and he moved into Saturday’s final.

“Someone had to do a more technical trick to beat me,” said Morgan. There are few guys who can do tricks but not with that grab. The standard is mental, everyone has been killing it.

“I would need a lot of luck to podium now after seeing what's going on. Watching practice it has been mental. But anything can happen, I will try my best."

Morgan’s preparations for the event were somewhat disrupted with a blocked ear which needed medical treatment on the morning of the competition.

“I woke up this morning with a completely blocked ear and I had to go have it syringed this morning. I was panicked, I just felt terrible,” he said. “With your ear blocked it's a horrible feeling and I wouldn't have felt too comfortable going in and doing this not feeling great.

“When I got here I was still feeling a bit dizzy but I think the adrenalin kicked in and took over and I was alright.”

In the first heat, Rowan Coultas went agonisingly close to making the final, finishing 8th with a score of 84.50, just half a point off the top six.

It was far and away Coultas’ strongest international performance and has laid a marker for the future that he can mix it with the best in the world.

“I'm feeling amazing, I'm so stoked to land those runs,” said the 20-year-old. “It went to plan, I managed to smash training and get it a few times. I'd never done the trick in a competition before so maybe that's why I'm so stoked.

“In the second run, I just wanted to go as big as possible to score those extra few points and I managed to do that.

“I'm just really happy to land. It was a stacked heat so you could tell by the scores it would be really tight to squeeze in there. It's been an amazing Games, I'm definitely going to try to go to the next one.”

Jamie Nicholls was also in the first heat and had the honour of being the first male rider to drop in an Olympic big air competition. While he couldn’t land his first run, he managed 81.25 on his second and was proud to be part of a new era of Olympic snowboarding.

"I messed up my first run but I felt like that was down to my nerves,” said Nicholls. “And then I got my second run really good, I was really happy with it, no hands down."

“It's just good to be part of such a high standard of snowboard big air. I'm excited for the future and the next four years and going into the next Games.”

Morgan will contest the first ever men’s snowboard big air final from Saturday 1am.

 

CROSS COUNTRY: MEN’S TEAM SPRINT at Alpensia Cross Country Centre

Team GB Result: Andrew Musgrave/Andrew Young 12th

British pair Andrew Musgrave and Andrew Young sat provisionally in the team sprint final after their first heat but were forced to watch on as their tenuous place in the final slipped away.

The second heat produced a faster race than the first, with Musgrave and Young falling back from sixth in their heat to finish 12th overall.

The result is Britain’s second highest finish ever in an Olympic cross country event behind Musgrave’s seventh in the skiathlon at these Games, and the best team result ahead of three 14th place finishes in the men’s 4x10km relay (1956, 1964, 1984).

“That was good fun, it was really hard,” said Young who turned 26 today. “I wasn't feeling lethargic but just didn't have my best body so I just had to make the most of it and try and ski three good consistent laps.

“I think we didn't quite ski to 100 per cent. At an Olympics if you don't come out all guns firing, you get punished for that.”

While it is Young’s last race of the Games, Musgrave will come out for his fourth and final event on Saturday in the 50km classic, determined to do well after being disappointed in his 15km free race earlier in the week.

"I've got over it a little bit now and I'm looking forward to doing the 50km and getting another top result,” said Musgrave. "Of course I still think about it a little bit. It was the biggest goal of the last four years, of course I can't just forget it.

“But at the same time I'm trying now to use that as motivation for the 50km.”

 

 

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