PYEONGCHANG, SOUTH KOREA - Teenagers Hiroaki Kunitake and Yuri Okubo failed to qualify Wednesday for the inaugural snowboarding men’s Big Air final of the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.
Kunitake, 16, fell on both runs in the second heat of qualifying for Saturday’s final. The 17-year-old Okubo’s better of the two runs at 84.25 points placed him ninth in the first heat, but only the top six in each heat were eligible for the final.
Pyeongchang was unkind to Kunitake and Okubo, who also did not advance to the slopestyle final. Kunitake apologized for the results of his first Olympics.
“I feel terrible for all the people who have supported me and tried to cheer me on,” Kunitake said. “Only a select few get to compete here. It can’t just be about fun. You have to produce.
“It’s not about changing my routine. I just wasn’t good enough. I hope I make the cut next time and do well in the final in four years’ time.”
Okubo was on the cut line at sixth after the first run, but fell on the second as he shot for a higher score.
“I didn’t want to qualify by cutting it close so I went for it,” he said. “I wanted to be one of the top qualifiers.
“I know where I am in the pecking order now so that’s good. I had fun, but it’s still frustrating.”