By Jack Tarrant
PYEONGCHANG (Reuters) - American snowboarder Chris Corning was left frustrated with the judges' scoring of his run after he failed to qualify for the men's snowboard slopestyle final on Saturday.
Corning, who came into the competition as a favorite and was expected to at least make the final, failed to finish in the top six riders from heat one, which would have put him through to Sunday's final.
The 18-year-old, who was the first snowboarder to take to the slope, scored 70.85 on his first run but it was only enough to finish ninth and miss out on qualification.
Each athlete has two attempts to score the highest score possible, with each competitor's best run counting as their qualification run.
The top six boarders from each heat progress to the final.
Speaking to reporters straight after his second run, Corning said he believes his run matched those of his competitors who did qualify.
"I was doing something in my run the judges really didn't like so we are going to have to look back at my scores and figure out what was going on because, like I say they didn't like something in my room that I am not totally sure about," said the American teenager.
"I went first and that never helps. That always sets the bar and then they forget about you so it is tough to have a run that holds," added Corning, who was made to wait 40 minutes before his run due to a delay related to technical difficulties.
"I did expect it to hold a little longer than it did because that run had all the biggest tricks that all the other guys did. I landed them pretty well and my rail section is more technical than some of the people sitting in the top positions."
Norway's Marcus Kleveland scored 83.71 to qualify in first from heat one, yet it was a difficult heat for the Americans, with Corning's compatriot Ryan Stassel also struggling and finishing in 17th place.
Both Corning and Stassel will have the chance to respond to the disappointment in the big air competition later in the Olympics.
Corning is first in the FIS World Cup rankings in big air.
(Reporting by Jack Tarrant; editing by Sudipto Ganguly)