American snowboarder Sage Kotsenburg advanced to the first medal round of the Sochi Games after a clean run at the slopestyle semi-finals Saturday morning.
He will be the only American at the finals, which kick off at 3:45 a.m. ET here. Fellow teammates Charles Guldemond and Ryan Strassel both nearly made the cut but were bumped out of the top four after their runs.
Great Britain's Billy Morgan, who notched the top score of the morning — 90.75 of 100 — advanced, along with Japan's Yuki Kadono and Canadian Mark McMorris, who competed with a broken rib. Kotsenburg scored 90.50 on his second run, for a No. 2 spot on the leaderboard heading into the final.
He later tweeted his surprise at the results.
"Whoa how random is this I made finals at the Olympics!!!"
— sage kotsenburg (@sagekotsenburg) February 8, 2014
The man to beat later this morning is Canadian Max Parrot, whose nearly flawless qualifier performance earned him a 97.50. Other high scorers included Roope Tonteri from Finland, Talle Sandberch representing Norway and Sven Thorgren from Sweden, all topping 94.
American star Shaun White was supposed to compete in the event, but pulled out at the last minute, citing his desire to focus exclusively on defending his Olympic halfpipe title.