OK, let’s get this straight …
We’ll start with “runs,” where skaters will perform full-fledged routines incorporating the ramps, rails and jumps throughout the course. Each skater gets two.
Then we go to “tricks,” which are one-offs. Hop in, hop up onto a rail or go somewhere else, make that board move, and land it. If you’re into gymnastics, you could picture the “runs” as the floor exercise, albeit with a lot of obstacles, and the “tricks” as vaults. Each skater gets five of these.
So that’s seven total attempts to show whose skills pay the bills. Each skater drops three of those seven. Doesn’t matter if it’s a run or a trick.
For example, let’s look at the top three in qualifying:
Giraud had a 9.00 and 8.85 on his runs. Outstanding. He then hit an 8.63 on his first trick. That’s three scores that count, and they’re all great. So when he missed his next trick for 0.00, that wasn’t alarming. When he scored 8.94 on his third trick, he had four scores that count, all very high. The only way to improve that score was to do better than his lowest score so far, the 8.63 on his first trick. And he did, with a 9.09.
Eaton also had things down by his third trick. His runs were 8.58 and 8.52. He missed his first trick but landed his next two — 7.95 and 8.63. That’s a good score that he made better with a 9.34 on his last trick.
Huston took the longer road. After a bobble midway through his first run, he got a 7.52. On his second, he saved his slip-up for the end of the run and got an 8.12. Then he missed his first two tricks.
So let’s take stock — Huston had only two scores above 0 after four attempts to get some points. He needed to do something big with two of his next three. He started the bailout effort with an 8.66. Not bad. Then a stellar 9.13. That would’ve been enough for him to qualify, but he did better than that, finishing with an 8.96. That let him drop the 7.52 from his first run.
It’ll make sense when you see it. Really.