Seventeen-year-old Kirsty Muir showed her mettle to soar into the final of the Olympic freestyle Big Air competition on the site of a former state-owned steel mill on the outskirts of Beijing.
The Scot, who is the youngest member of the 50-strong Team GB squad, nailed her first jump with a score of 89.25, the second biggest of the qualifying session which was only beaten by the French former World Cup winner Tess Ledeux.
Muir, from Aberdeen, looked nerveless as she landed all three of her leaps, the best two of which are added to determine the final ranking. Her final tally of 157.50 left her less than six points adrift of third-placed Anastasia Tatalina of Russia.
Muir said she was especially pleased to have landed a trick called a ‘dub 12’, which includes two flips, one and half degrees of rotation and a ski-grab.
“I was really happy to have landed my dub 12 in the first run,” said Muir. “I had a crash in practice with it, but it’s my best trick and I wanted to land it.
“I was so happy and I’m really excited to be in the finals. It’s a dream come true. There’s a few things I can improve on and everyone goes into a final in the hope of doing their best.”
Muir had emerged as a potential contender in Beijing ever since she won a silver medal at the 2018 Youth Olympics, her major event debut in which she subsequently admitted to have been hampered by nerves.
Muir, who has been described as a “once-in-a-generation athlete” by coach and former Olympian Lesley McKenna, has since achieved World Cup podiums in slopestyle, in which she is also set to compete in Beijing.
Muir’s team-mate Katie Summerhayes finished just outside the top-12 cut-off for qualification for Tuesday’s final in 13th place.
Summerhayes, 26, who is competing at her third Olympics will now switch her attention to her favoured slopestyle event in Sunday.
Summerhayes said: “She (Kirsty) is nine years younger than me, so I feel old. When I look down at the start-list there are not many of us born in the 1990s now, which is pretty sad.
“With Kirsty, we had the Youth Olympics and we were pretty much the same age at our first Olympic Games. I try to give her advice but I think she’s got it sorted.”
James Woods failed to make the cut for the final of the men’s event after crashing in each of his first two runs. Like Summerhayes, Woods will now switch his attention to the slopestyle discipline.
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