Mark McMorris Leads Canadian Medal run at Burton U.S. Open

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(ISN) – VAIL, Colorado –Mark McMorris of Regina highlighted a triple medal performance for Canadian riders on Friday with a silver in what was considered one of the highest level men’s slopestyle events at the U.S. Open snowboard competition.

Tyler Nicholson of North Bay, Ont., climbed from 10th after the preliminaries to snare the bronze while Spencer O’Brien of Courtenay, B.C., executed the biggest trick of the day in women’s slopestyle for third spot.

In men’s slopestyle, Yuki Kadono of Japan upset McMorris laying down his best run in the third and last round. McMorris, the Olympic bronze medallist from Sochi and the U.S. Open defending champion, took the lead in the second round landing back-to-back 1440’s in a run he’d never tried before. His triple-cork frontside 1440 was only the third time it had ever been landed in competition.

”I was just super-psyched with what I landed,” said McMorris. ”That’s all you can ask for out of a contest. The level of riding was insane, so I’m stoked. The highlight for me was the cab double off the wall which was new for me.”

Kadono executed back-to-back 1620’s on his final run to overtake the X Games champion by more than two points, and take the $45,000 US first prize.

”It’s just so insane what he did,” said McMorris about the 18-year-old Japanese rider. ”I was on such a high when I finished my second run but he came back with something I thought would never be done,”

Nicholson’s best score was 77.2 which he described as the best of his career. The highlight was landing a 1440 mute for the first time in his career.

”I’m so hyped it doesn’t seem real at a contest I use to come and watch as a kid,” said Nicholson. ”It’s a dream come true to be on the podium here.”

In women’s slopestyle, Jamie Anderson of the U.S. won the gold medal, Anna Gasser of Austria was second and O’Brien was third. The Canadian executed the biggest spin of the contest landing a backside 900 and nailed a solid and technical rail section.

”I’m just really happy to be putting that trick down this year,” said O’Brien, 12th at the Sochi Olympics last winter. ”I just learned it earlier this season and it’s already consistent. I’m really happy where my riding is going. Getting on the podium was a bonus.”

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