McMorris qualifies for slopestyle final

Krasnaya Polyana, Russia ( - Canadian Mark McMorris still has medal hopes in the men's slopestyle at the 2014 Olympics, but it took awhile.

A two-time X Games gold medalist, McMorris failed to earn one of the first eight berths in the final during the initial two qualifying runs on Thursday. Only four more spots for the 12-man field were available Saturday and he managed only the ninth-best score after a fall on his first run.

The last proved to be the best, as McMorris landed a triple-cork jump and posted the third-best score of the day with 89.25 to qualify for the final, which will take place later Saturday.

Great Britain's Billy Morgan had the top score on Saturday at 90.75, followed by American Sage Kotsenburg at 90.50. The last qualifier was Japan's Yuki Kadono, whose 84.75 edged Belgium's Seppe Smits by just .25.

Two other Americans, Ryan Stassel and Charles Guldemond, failed to reach the final, finishing sixth and seventh, respectively, on Saturday.

Canada will have a chance to sweep the medals, as McMorris will be joined in the final by Max Parrot and Sebastien Toutant. Parrot had the top score in qualifying on Thursday.

The other finalists are Norway's Staale Sandbech and Gjermund Braaten, Finland's Roope Tonteri and Peetu Piiroinen, Sweden's Sven Thorgren and Britain's Jamie Nicholls.

Slopestyle is making its Olympic debut. The course setup drew criticism when riders labeled it as potentially dangerous during training runs.

It was modified somewhat after Norway's Torstein Horgmo suffered a broken collarbone on Monday.

American star Shaun White pulled out of the event on Wednesday, a day after hurting his wrist in a fall, but said he withdrew to concentrate on a third straight halfpipe gold medal.