VANCOUVER (Feb. 14) – After three days of steady rain, the ski gods smiled on Cypress Mountain and allowed the men moguls skiers to qualify for tonight’s finals under party cloudy and rain-free skies.
Hot off of back-to-back wins on the World Cup, Frenchman Guilbaut Colas, who told reporters he was looking at the World Cup circuit as practice for the Games, looked plenty practiced as he led a qualifiers with a score of 25.93 with the second-fastest time and two huge airs.
“It was very good, I’m in a good position, it’s just a little soft,” said Colas who finished 10th at his first Olympics in Torino. “Technically I think I’m the best today, but it is going to be faster in the finals.”
Canadian Alexandre Bilodeau kept the home crowed interested with the second best qualifying run .45 points behind Colas.
The pleasant surprise of the day came when American Bryon Wilson pulled in the third-best run ahead of defending gold medalist and World Cup leader, Australian Dale Begg-Smith who qualified fourth.
“I felt good, I felt fast,” said Wilson who earned his first World Cup podium at this season’s opening event then did it again the next day to earn a U.S. A-Team spot. “I was nervous up top but I think that gave me a little bit more speed.”
The remaining three skiers on the all-Olympic-rookie American men’s moguls team made the top 20 to move on to tonight’s final. Patrick Deneen (10th), Nate Roberts (16th) and Michael Morse (19th) will have the score sheet wiped clean as they head in to the medal final.
In front of 12,000 screaming, cowbell ringing fans, the home team qualified all four of its skiers. Behind Bilodeau, Maxime Gingras and Pierre-Alexandre Rousseau finished sixth and seventh, while Vincent Marquis took the 13th slot.
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The final round of competition will be held this evening at 5:30 local time.