Nicholls' daring books finals spot

Burnley and Pendle Citizen: Jamie Nicholls is through to the final in Sochi Jamie Nicholls is through to the final in Sochi

British snowboarder Jamie Nicholls has promised he will "go all out" when he lines up in the first ever Olympic slopestyle final on Saturday.

The 20-year-old from Bradford was undoubtedly the success story of the day for Team GB after the ride of his life earned him a surprise place in the showpiece event in Sochi.

Nicholls, who had earlier in the week suffered a fall at the much talked about Rosa Khutor Extreme Park, produced a more daring second run after his first routine was awarded a score of 62.25.

It paid dividends as he boosted his score to 86.75, which earned him the fourth and final automatic qualifying spot in the first heat.

And after putting it all on the line worked out for him so well on Thursday, he is not considering a change of approach.

"I went for it today. The standard was crazy," he said.

"Now I'm in the finals I've just got to go all out, 100 per cent, so I'm just going to go for it and see what happens.

"I still feel I can step up my run too, even more than what I did today.

"I'm looking forward to the finals on Saturday. I'm just happy that I made it, I'm not bothered any more."

Such was his determination to make his mark, Nicholls was forced to perform a manoeuvre he had never landed before.

A 'Cab 14' which involves four switch-frontside spins was the catalyst behind his improvement.

"I've literally never landed that before, it's a new trick for me," he said.

"To be able to go up there and do a run that I've never done in my life, it just shows the standard is pretty high."

Compatriot Billy Morgan was thought of as Britain's best hope of a medal in this event, but missed out on automatic qualification after finishing sixth and will instead compete in the semi-final on Saturday.

Despite landing a 'backside triple' on his final jump - one of the hardest tricks to complete in snowboard - Morgan was only awarded a score of 85.50.

The 24-year-old from Southampton did score a double 'first' after becoming the first competitor in the Games when the qualifiers got under way, and also the first competitor in the slopestyle event.

While Morgan was delighted upon realising this, he believes performing first may have proved his undoing.

"It was good. I didn't think about it until I was at the top and about to go and (injured Norwegian rider) Torstein (Horgmo) said 'you're the first one to do this in the Olympics ever'. I'm stoked," he said.

"It is a bit of a disadvantage as I don't get to see what everyone has done. I couldn't really have done any better - maybe I could have cleaned it up a bit. But hopefully I'll get to the final."

Ireland's Seamus O'Connor finished 13th in the second heat after failing to land his final jump on both runs.

Nevertheless, like Morgan the 16-year-old from San Diego, whose grandparents are Irish, will get another chance in Saturday's semi-final and is very grateful to be representing his adopted nation.

"My dad's side of the family are from Ireland, I feel very Irish and am very lucky to be here," he said.

In the women's event, Jenny Jones and Aimee Fuller had to settle for a spot in Sunday's semi-final after falling short.

Jones, a two-time Winter X Games gold medallist, became the first woman to compete in this event at an Olympics and set the bar with a solid routine, which was rewarded with a score of 74.25 and was good enough for fifth spot.

However, she failed to build on that second time around, with a slip early on ruining any chance she had of qualifying in the top four.

"I was really happy with the first run and was ready to step that up, but unfortunately that wasn't the case," she said.

"I'll just come out again and try my best, that's all I can do."

Fuller finished 10th in the 12-person race with a high score of 44.50, but is in optimistic mood ahead of Sunday's semis.

"I definitely didn't get down what I wanted to get down so I'm a little disappointed there, but I just see it as a good building block for Sunday's semi-finals," she said.

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