Maxence Parrot of Canada has started out on top of the slopestyle snowboarding competition at the 2014 Olympic Games, with a score of 97.50.
Roope Tonteri of Finland, Sven Thorgren of Sweden, and Gjermund Braaten of Norway snagged the other top four spots, which earned these four snowboarders automatic placement in the finals.
Four other berths are up for grabs in the semifinal on Saturday.
Parrot had one of the most consistent showings, posting a 91.75 score on his first heat before scoring the best score so far on his second.
Got 1st in the Olympic Qualis!! Scored a 97.5!! So stoked!! pic.twitter.com/3JpxTK7ElH
— Maxence Parrot (@MaxParrot) February 6, 2014
Many of the others had one below-average score paired with a stronger score.
The first official runs on the course included many actual or near wipe-outs. The course has been described as intimidating by U.S. snowboarder Shaun White, who dropped out of the competition after injuring his wrist. Norwegian Torstein Horgmo, a triple X Games gold medallist in Big Air, broke his collarbone on the course.
Parrot was one of several snowboarders who poked fun at White after his decision, tweeting that “Shaun knows he won’t be able to win the slopes, thats why he pulled out. He’s scared!”
He later deleted the tweet and apologized, saying: “I just meant that it’s not as fun to compete at the Olympics when the riders underlights aren’t there.”
Parrot told reporters after his win that it’s still possible for Canada to sweep the medals in the slopestyle, although fellow star Mark McMorris didn’t perform well in the first two heats. McMorris was competing with a broken rib.
Sebastian Toutant and Charles Reid are the other two Canadians in the competition.
(Franck Fife/AFP/Getty Images)