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Sunday, 18 February 2018 | MYT 2:34 PM

Olympics - Freestyle skiing: Norway's Braaten strikes early in slopestyle triumph

PYEONGCHANG, South Korea (Reuters) - Norway's Oystein Braaten struck early with a brilliant first run as he claimed gold in the Olympic freestyle skiing men's slopestyle event on Sunday.

American Nick Goepper improved on his bronze from Sochi four years ago with a silver medal as Canada's Alex Beaulieu-Marchand claimed a surprise third place.

Braaten laid down an early marker with a score of 95.00 on his first run and as most of his rivals failed to match the Norwegian's crisp and clean routine, his impressive total was good enough to hold on to top spot through all three rounds.

Goepper left it late but delivered when it mattered most, jumping up from nowhere into second place with a 93.60 effort on his final run.

His team mate Gus Kenworthy, a silver medallist four years ago as part of a United States podium sweep, failed to record a clean run and finished 12th and last in the final.

Beaulieu-Marchand, 49th in the World Cup rankings, was a surprise bronze medallist, his 92.40 second run leaving him looking stunned as he stood on the podium.

(Reporting by Jack Tarrant; Editing by John O'Brien)