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Associated Press/Sergei Grits
Spencer O'Brien nails a jump during her snowboard slopestyle qualifying run at the Sochi Olympics on Thursday.

Native Slopestyle Snowboarder Makes Olympic Finals

ICTMN Staff
2/7/14

Canadian born slopestyle snowboarder, Spencer O’Brien of Courtenay, British Columbia, has qualified for the Olympic finals.

O’Brien placed third in the first of two qualifying heats on Thursday with a score of 82.75. First place went to Isabel Derungs of Switzerland, who scored an 87.50 in the first heat.

“It's really nerve-racking to do qualifiers," O'Brien told CBC Sports. "When I strapped in, it hit me how much work I have done to get here. I think it is a wonderful thing to celebrate this sport. I'm really excited for the world to see what we do."

"It's been a bit of a difficult course, but it's what we do for a living,” O’Brien, who is Haida/Kwakwakw’wakw, told the CBC. “That's the beauty of slopestyle. The courses are never the same."

There are only two heats in the women’s slopestyle event and the top four competitors in each event advance to the finals, which is on Sunday afternoon. All 23 boarders who competed on Thursday advanced to the semifinals, but O’Brien has moved directly to the finals.

Sam McCracken, a member of the Sioux and Assiniboine tribes and the general manager of the Nike N7 program, in which O’Brien is one of several Native ambassadors, predicted that she would be a gold medalist at the Sochi Winter Olympics.

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CBC snowboard analyst Craig McMorris watched O’Brien compete in the qualifying heat on Thursday and said that she was confident.

Nike N7 - Ambassador Spencer O'Brien

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