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Perrine Laffont qualifies first in women’s moguls; USA’s Morgan Schild in third

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After the first round of qualifying, the women’s moguls field is being led by a 19-year-old skier from France.

Thursday’s runs were the first of two qualifying rounds for the mogul skiers. The top 10 skiers from this round have automativally advanced into the first round of the finals, while a second qualifying round yet to take place will determine the rest of the field for the finals.

     NBCOlympics.com: 2018 U.S. Olympic freestyle ski team

France’s Perrine Laffont was the top qualifier, scoring a 79.72 to take the top spot. She made her Olympic debut four years ago in Sochi, where she was the youngest skier in the field (age 15) and placed 14th.

Canada’s Andi Naude was close behind, qualifying in second with a 79.60. She’s been the top performer all season long among a strong Canadian team that also includes reigning Olympic gold and silver medalists Justine and Chloe Dufour-Lapointe.

Justine was fourth in qualifying, securing herself a spot in the first round of the finals. Chloe, however, was just 13th and will have to go through the second qualifying round.

     NBCOlympics.com: Olympic preview: Men’s moguls

The U.S. has four women competing in PyeongChang, and three of them have already assured their spots in the first round of the finals. Morgan Schild (third), Jaelin Kauf (fifth) and Keaton McCargo (eighth) all did what had to be done. In her run, Schild successfully landed her D-spin on the final jump. Only 17-year-old Tess Johnson (who was 22nd) will need to go through the next round of qualifying.

Competition resumes on Sunday with the second qualifying round, followed by the finals.

Results
The top 10 skiers from the first qualifying round have automatically advanced straight to the first round of finals. The remaining 20 skiers will compete in a second qualifying round on Sunday, and the top 10 from that round will also move on to the first round of finals.

Advancing to Final
1. Perrine Laffont (FRA), 79.72
2. Andi Naude (CAN), 79.60
3. Morgan Schild (USA), 77.74
4. Justine Dufour-Lapointe (CAN), 77.66
5. Jaelin Kauf (USA), 77.45
6. Britt Cox (AUS), 76.78
7. Yulia Galysheva (KAZ), 76.36
8. Keaton McCargo (USA), 75.67
9. Arisa Murata (JPN), 74.13
10. Audrey Robichaud (CAN), 72.48

 

What’s Next?
NBCOlympics.com will be streaming every round of every competition live online. Here’s how to watch all upcoming live streams for moguls.

Men’s Qualifying Rd. 1: Thursday, Feb. 8, 9:45 pm. ET
LIVE EVENT STREAM

Women’s Qualifying Rd. 2: Sunday, Feb. 11, 5:30 a.m. ET
LIVE EVENT STREAM

Women’s Finals: Sunday, Feb. 11, 7:00 a.m. ET
LIVE EVENT STREAM

Men’s Qualifying Rd. 2: Monday, Feb. 12, 5:30 a.m. ET
LIVE EVENT STREAM

Men’s Finals: Monday, Feb. 12, 7:00 a.m. ET
LIVE EVENT STREAM

 

Justin Morneau nixes Olympic baseball qualifying return

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Justin Morneau, the 2006 AL MVP with the Minnesota Twins, was taken off Canada’s Olympic baseball qualifying roster before he would have played his first competitive game in more than two years.

Morneau, 38, experienced an unspecified setback in training and was replaced on Canada’s roster for next month’s Premier12. The global tournament marks the first opportunity for many world baseball powers to qualify for the sport’s return to the Olympics.

Morneau never played in the Olympics before baseball was cut from the Games after 2008; active MLB players have never competed in the Games. But he was on Canada’s roster at all four World Baseball Classics from 2006 through 2017.

At November’s Premier12, the top nation from North and South America will qualify for the Tokyo Olympics. Japan and Israel are already qualified. Those that do not qualify will get another chance next year.

Morneau could become the second Major League Baseball MVP to play Olympic baseball as a medal sport. The other was Jason Giambi, who made the U.S. team in 1992, the same summer he was drafted in the second round by the Oakland Athletics.

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MORE: Joe Girardi replaced as U.S. baseball manager by World Series champion

Kolohe Andino is first U.S. Olympic surfing qualifier; Kelly Slater faces last chance

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Kolohe Andino is the first American to qualify for surfing’s Olympic debut, which leaves one spot left for 47-year-old Kelly Slater to chase at the final contest of the season.

Andino, a 25-year-old Californian whose first name means “rascal” in Hawaiian, clinched his place in Tokyo on Friday at the penultimate stop on the World Surf League Championship Tour in Portugal. He is ranked fifth in the world, trailing a trio of Brazilians.

One more American man will join Andino on the Olympic team. It will be one of Slater, the 11-time world champion, John John Florence, the 2016 and 2017 World champion, and rising 22-year-old Hawaiian Seth Moniz.

Slater was handed a golden opportunity to qualify when Florence announced in early July that he tore an ACL for the second time in 13 months. Florence had won two of the first five events this season.

Slater has been chasing the sidelined Florence in the standings ever since. But it has not been easy.

Slater hasn’t made the quarterfinals in any of his last seven contests going into December’s finale — the prestigious Billabong Pipeline Masters on the North Shore of Oahu.

“Ninth place, to me, used to be a pretty awful result. I’m used to at least a quarterfinal on for most of my career,” he said in July, noting a back injury. “I’m not horrified by my results, but I’m also not surprised. Maybe other people are because everyone focuses on my age and that kind of thing. It’s not like I’m going to all of a sudden forget how to do this thing, you know?”

Slater, who won the Pipe Masters seven times between 1992 and 2013, must reach the quarterfinals at this year’s event to have any chance of passing Florence to qualify for the Olympics.

Complicating matters: Florence said in August it was his “goal to get better for Pipeline in case I have to come back and compete and gain points,” according to ESPN.com. If Florence does return for the December contest, and makes the quarterfinals, Slater could only pass him with a victory.

Moniz goes into the finale ranked one spot behind Slater, meaning he, too, can grab that second and final Olympic spot with a win or a runner-up.

Slater, who turns 48 on Feb. 11, would be the oldest U.S. Summer Olympic rookie competitor in a sport other than equestrian, sailing or shooting (or art competitions!) in the last 100 years, supplanting Martina Navratilova, according to the OlyMADMen.

MORE: Top U.S. surfer has links to Egg McMuffin, Guinness World Record holder

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