The Winter Olympics have now officially started after the opening ceremonies went down on Friday in Sochi for the 2014 Games and while the event in Russia had its problems, now the snowboard athletes are getting ready for the semifinals and the finals of the slopestyle and that will be the first medal given out on Saturday and it will be going down early at 12:30 am ET and 3:45 AM ET for the last run.
Shaun White is not participating in the slopestyle event and that leaves a bit of a hole there, but Mark McMorris is filling that with some star power and the American pulled out after he was injured on the course during a practice run. White said that the course was intimidating and he got some flak from his fellow riders about that, but in reality he is injured and after coming down with a wrist issue, White did not want to risk missing the halfpipe later in the game. White was already dealing with ankle and shoulder injuries and with him having won the halfpipe two times in a row, he did not want to put any risk at missing a chance for three straight.
Mark McMorris came into the event as one of the favorites and the 20-year-old star ended up with a qualification score at 89.25 after falling on his first run and while he is down on the list after his fall and not into the finals, he is still in contention for the medal round on Saturday, as he can get in as one of the four athletes to get through from the semifinals. There will be 12 riders for the Saturday runs and eight are through into their spots in the competition already.
Chas Guldemond finished fifth and there were no Americans in the top eight in the qualifying and the snowboard slopestyle was one of 12 new events at these games and one of a handful that started on Thursday. The games needed to start early to accommodate those events and now on Saturday it will be the first full day of the games and there will be plenty of action on the slopes. White pulled out to avoid any problems with the halfpipe and while that was a tough decision, it likely was a good one, as a number of athletes have hurt themselves on the Sochi track and after seeing that happen multiple times, White felt it was best to drop out.
The Saturday schedule has snowboarding on the docket first and the men's slopestyle semifinals will be first with the Run 1 going at 12:30 am ET followed by the second run of the semis and that will be at 1:24 am ET on the schedule. There will be women's ice hockey and preliminary round games on Saturday as well and at 4 am ET the finals for the slopestyle will be going down and that has the first medal of the Winter Games being handed out.