It’s been 24 years since Canada has celebrated an Olympic medal in men’s aerials, and tonight, Gatineau’s Olivier Rochon is one step closer to rewriting that history, earning a spot for Canada in the men’s aerials final
Rochon was the eighth ranked skier going into tonight’s competition and performed a full double full full (quadruple twisting, triple flip) on his first qualification run to score 124.34, enough to punch his ticket directly to finals with a sixth place finish.
“The plan was to make it to the finals in the first round,” commented Rochon. “I was really trying to stay grounded and in the present moment here. I’ve been doing this for 12 years and when it was time to go, I just went.”
Rochon has spent the better part of his career fighting injuries, missing the 2010 and 2014 Olympic Games, and needing the full list of events in this Olympic selection window to secure his spot on Team Canada. The 28-year-old recorded a clutch, third place finish at the Lake Placid World Cup, just three weeks before the start of the Games, to make his long-awaited Olympic debut.
Rochon’s teammate Lewis Irving, the 22-year-old from Quebec City, was also in the field tonight, representing Canada at his first Olympic Games. Irving, who recorded his first FIS World Cup podium finish earlier this season, struggled with the landings on both qualification jumps and was unable to advance to finals, finishing 24th in the qualification round.
“It was an amazing experience to make it all the way here and compete against the best in the world,” commented Irving. “Even though I’m disappointed with the result, I’m young and will have more opportunities in the future.”
Rochon will return to Bokwang Snow Park tomorrow night with his sights set on the podium for Canada.
Next Olympic Events:
- Men’s Slopestyle Qualifications, February 17, 8 PM ET
- Men’s Slopestyle Finals, February 17, 11 PM ET
- Men’s Aerials Finals, February 18, 6 AM ET