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Billy gets Sochi 2014 underway
Billy Morgan was the first athlete to perform at Sochi 2014 this morning when he went first in the slopestyle qualifiers.
The snowboarder made history by getting slopestyle's first Olympic event underway.
And after a solid start, earning a score of 76.25 from the judges, he produced the first 'backside triple cork' of the heat with his second run to earn the biggest cheer from the crowd but a surprisingly low score of 85.50.
It was good enough for sixth place out of the 15 riders in the first qualifying heat, having needed a top-four finish to bypass Saturday morning's semi-final and qualify automatically for the final.
"It's absolutely amazing," said Morgan, of the course and the atmosphere. "I got to the bottom and looked around and saw that the stands were half full – and this is just qualification.
"It is good to see people coming to see our sport and the Games haven’t even (officially) started.
"The course is fine. There are always changes to be made but they sorted that out. The jumps are good and fast and fun.
"I was happy. I messed my first run up a bit but my second run was solid. I could clean it up a bit."
On being the first athlete to compete, Morgan said: "It was pretty cool, I didn’t realise until one of the other athletes told me at the top.
"It was pretty cool. I didn’t think about it until the last minute. I had fun and it was really good."
After the event, Morgan had tweeted: "Stoked I landed my 2nd run with a triple. Bit bumed [sic] it didn't score higher. Better step it up on Saturday."
The 24 year-old from Shirley is competing without an anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee after rupturing it four months ago.
His GB teammate, Jamie Nicholls, is in Saturday's final after scores of 62.25 and 86.75 were good enough for fourth place at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park.
"Well done @jamienichollsuk nailed your 2nd run like a boss. Pumped!!!" tweeted Billy.
He and the other riders in the first heat will be all be in the semi-final at 6am on Saturday, with the seedings based on today's results.
“It is not a normal qualification format, it does work though," added Billy. "It would be devastating to go out in qualification and no one got to go on TV.
“It gives everybody two chances to qualify for the final. It works. I think it will push people’s riding more.
“Everyone has four runs as opposed to two and you will probably see better tricks and stunts, which is good.
“Sometimes there are six rounds in World Cup events which is ridiculously intense. This is pretty perfect. You get another chance if you don’t get through.”
Saturday's finals will be shown on the big screen at The View, Southampton Sports Centre, near the dry slope where Billy first learnt to snowboard.
Samsung are a proud partner of Team GB and are supporting the Samsung Galaxy Team. To meet the team, see exclusive content and win amazing prizes, including once-in-a-lifetime winter sport training sessions with the Samsung Galaxy Team athletes, visit: www.samsung.com/uk/sochi2014
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