13 Feb 2014

Sochi 2014: James Woods set for Ski slopestyle final

James Woods is through to the final of the first ever Winter Olympics men’s ski slopestyle – but a hip injury may hinder his efforts.

James Woods in action (G)

James Woods secured third place with a score of 87.20 after his first run, getting him a place in the final.

The 22-year-old has been struggling with a hip complaint suffered in training last Friday, and he pulled out midway through his second run as a precaution to any further injuries.

Olympic freestyle events include mogul skiing, aerials, ski cross, ski halfpipe and ski slopestyle – and the latter two are making their Olympic debut in Sochi afterbeing added in 2011.

Britain’s hopes are resting on James “Woodsy” Woods who has won five consecutive British national championships in slopestyle between 2007 and 2011.

As a child, Woods was a keen skateboarder and rollerblader before he discovered skiing at the age of ten. He saw an advert in a local paper offering a free ski or snowboard lesson at the Sheffield Ski Village dry slope and thought he would give it a try. And he has been captivated by the sport since then.

The Sheffield-born athlete bronze at the 2011 Winter X Games Europe – Britain’s first ever major championship slopestyle medal – and in the same year placed eighth on his debut at the Freestyle World Ski Championships.

Last year he became Britain’s first freestyle skiing World Championship medallist for 20 years when he won slopestyle silver in Norway and finished the season in style by claiming the overall World Cup slopestyle title. Despite a disappointing performance at last month’s X-Games in Aspen, where he only finished tenth in qualifying, Woodsy is still one of the brightest prospects for a British medal in Sochi.

Olympic freestyle

A total of ten sets of medals are awarded in freestyle, with both men and women competing in the events.

In Ski Slopestyle athletes perform on a slope with various types obstacles such as rails, quarterpipes and jumps. The technical characteristics of the course are determined by the rules of the International Ski Federation. The competition follows an elimination format, with semifinals and finals and a final with two runs. The top finisher wins.