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|Alex Schlopy competing in slopestyle qualifers today at Park City.|
Rookie Alex Schlopy surprised everyone by winning Winter X Games Big Air on Saturday, beating out proven pros like Bobby Brown and Sammy Carlson, who placed second and third, respectively. Now, only days later, Schlopy has the chance to do the same in the FIS Freestyle World Championships, happening this week in his home town of Park City, Utah. The World Championships are the final event to take place before the International Olympic Committee decides whether to include ski halfpipe and slopestyle into the 2014 Winter Olympics. Schlopy battled for a spot in the finals during today's slopestyle qualifiers. A clean leftside 540 to a switch 9 finished off by a double cork 1260 landed him in the ninth spot in qualifiers, just enough to move onto finals tomorrow. We spoke to Schlopy about his chances. Stay tuned here for more updates from the FIS Freestyle World Championships (check out video from today's qualifiers here).
ESPN Freeskiing: How does it feel to come off your Big Air gold at Winter X straight into the FIS championships?
Alex Schlopy: It feels really good. I'm just still so excited about last week. Coming right back into a competition, I'm just trying to keep the motion going. I'm just out here having fun in my hometown.
|Schlopy already has one gold medal this week. Tomorrow, he'll go for his second.|
What's it like to compete on your home mountain? Do you think it gives you any home-court advantage?
I don't know about advantages, besides the fact that I've grown up here. It's just so much more fun to be at home. I know pretty much everyone out here and it just makes it that much better.
There is a lot of competition in the FIS slopestyle finals. How does it feel going up against some of the same top finalists from Winter X and how do the two events compare?
It's always fun to see how you measure up to everyone, especially when it comes to people from different countries. The X Games is way more hyped up. It's a huge venue and a lot of people show up, but I think this is going to be a lot of fun because tons of locals will turn out.
Looking to the future, why are the FIS World Championships such an important step toward the Olympics?
This one specifically is cool because the IOC is here checking it out, and seeing if it's cut out to be in the Olympics. It's a huge step, because we haven't had too many FIS slopestyle events so hopefully they enjoy what we are doing and it finds a place in the Olympics.
What would it mean to you as an athlete to have slopestyle as an Olympic event?
It'd be awesome! I'd love to get a shot at the Olympics. My mom [alpine ski racer Holly Flanders] went, and my cousin [alpine ski racer Erik Schlopy] got to go, and I think it'd be really cool to see first-hand what they've experienced.
How'd the qualifying runs go for you and how do you feel heading into tomorrow?
I kept it a little mellow today, I wanted to throw tricks that I knew would get me from top to bottom cleanly. I'm excited for tomorrow. No matter what, I'm going to keep skiing and having fun, that's what it's all about.