Ricker, McMorris among first five snowboarders for Sochi

The first five snowboard athletes were named to the Canadian Olympic Team for Sochi 2014 at a ceremony in Vancouver on Friday, January 3.

Defending Olympic champion in ladies’ snowboard cross and hometown hero, Maëlle Ricker, will be off to her fourth Games. Joining her in Russia will be Chris Robanske in the men’s snowboard cross.

Ricker made her Olympic debut in 1998, but missed the Games four years later due to injury.  In 2006 she crashed in the final, which motivated her to bounce back and become the first Canadian woman to win a gold medal on home soil in 2010.

It will be the first Olympic Winter Games for Robanske, who in 2013 became the first Canadian male to win a World Cup gold in snowboard cross since 2007.

Also aiming to have a memorable inaugural Olympics are slopestyle athletes Spencer O’Brien, Mark McMorris and Sébastien Toutant. They will be among the first athletes to compete in the new Olympic event.

O’Brien won gold at the 2013 FIS World Snowboard Championships. She is a four-time Winter X Games medallist.

McMorris and Toutant are both strong medal favourites for Sochi. They each have two slopestyle gold medals at Winter X Games. McMorris won silver at the 2013 World Championships and more recently, showed himself to be the most dominant figure in snowboard slopestyle by winning on the Dew Tour, which earned him Canadian Olympic Team’s Athlete of the Week.

More snowboarders will be added to Team Canada for Sochi on January 21 in Québec City.

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