Two-time defending gold medalist Jamie Anderson of the U.S. made it into her third career Olympic slopestyle final Saturday with room for improvement as the fifth-best rider in qualifying.
Anderson was clean through most of her second run before coming up short on a final-hit cab double 900 attempt, having to settle for her first-run score of 74.35.
Odds-on favorite Zoi Sadowski-Synnott, the two-time reigning world champion from New Zealand, showed some sizzle on her second run with a pair of backside 900s, the first of which was in switch, to enter Sunday’s final as the top qualifier.
Seventeen-year-old Kokomo Murase of Japan, winner of this season’s Calgary Snow Rodeo World Cup event, had the top score through the first round of runs and bettered it on Run 2 for the runner-up spot.
Two-time Olympic medalist Enni Rukajarvi of Finland improved her final hit from a cab 720 to 900 on run two to post the third-best score.
On her first run, Anderson hit the first section’s downward bow rail with a backside lipslide; rode the watch tower “shred shed” roof despite a slight hang-up; hit the roller jump in Section 3; landed a perfect frontside 720 off the left “twisted sister” skew jump; popped a big drifting backside 540 on the second feature’s roller-to-knuckle ramp; and closed with a cab 720 off the final section’s big-air kicker.
The women’s snowboard slopestyle final takes place Sunday morning – the evening of Saturday, Feb. 5, in the Eastern U.S.