Utah resident Seamus O'Connor finishes 17th for Ireland in inaugural Olympic slopestyle competition
Sergei Grits, AP
KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia — Newly crowned gold medalist Sage Kotsenburg wasn't the only one feeling the need to do something different in order to compete in the first-ever slopestyle snowboarding competition at the 2014 Winter Olympic Games.
Ireland’s Seamus O’Connor, who's lived and trained in Park City for the last five years, finished 17th in Saturday’s historic event.
Like Kotsenburg, the 16-year-old decided that he needed to step up the difficulty of his run, so he attempted a triple flip, which he hadn’t even tried before Thursday’s first round. He landed on his back edge, which threw him on his back quite hard.
Because of that experience, he wasn’t planning to try the trick again Saturday.
“This morning I wasn’t thinking about doing it,” he said. “I was a little sore. I was really tired and a little dismayed with how my practice went. I landed my first run, but I wasn’t happy with it. Then the next step was to go for the triple.”
He said he was unsure how it would turn out, but after a lengthy discussion with his coach, he felt more confident.
“We got it figured out,” he said. “I just can’t believe I landed it. It’s amazing. That was the one and only time I landed it.”
He said he’ll cherish his Olympic experience.
“It’s a great experience," he said. "I can’t even put it into words. I’m absolutely blown away by the atmosphere here. Opening Ceremonies was one of the proudest moments of my life, and I’m just excited to be here.”
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