Breakout star Liam Brearley competes in 1st snowboard worlds event

·3 min read
Canadian snowboarder Liam Brearley, right, has been a star on the rise over the last year and looks to make his hope for Olympic qualifications a reality at the upcoming worlds event. (Dave Chidley/The Canadian Press - image credit)
Canadian snowboarder Liam Brearley, right, has been a star on the rise over the last year and looks to make his hope for Olympic qualifications a reality at the upcoming worlds event. (Dave Chidley/The Canadian Press - image credit)

Canadian snowboarder Liam Brearley has had quite the year since he created a buzz at the 2020 Youth Olympic Games in Lausanne.

He won three medals that January — the first Canadian to do that at a Youth Games — and then followed that up with a bronze medal at a World Cup event in Calgary a month later.

After a seventh-place finish in the big air event at a World Cup this past January, the 18-year-old has a chance to crack Olympic qualifications at the upcoming snowboard and freeski world championships in Aspen, Col. It is his first world championship event.

To be eligible to vie for a spot in next March's Beijing Olympics, Brearly will need to accumulate at least 50 FIS points in slopestyle by next January and place in the top 30 in at least one World Cup event or the 2021 world championships.

"I do have a shot at Olympic qualifications but there's definitely no guarantees there," the Gravenhurst, Ont. native said. "The goal in this competition, my goal, is to make the finals and just top five in each heat of 28. It's only a 10-person final which is a pretty big cut, but my goal is just to go out there and land a run.

WATCH: Anastasia Bucsis chats with Liam Brearly:

"If I do well in these next competitions, there's a shot at Olympic qualifications but that's just a hope right now, not expecting anything or focusing on that. I just want to do well."

Brearley finished tied for 23rd in the qualifying round Wednesday with a score of 32.75 and did not qualify for the final round in the slopestyle event.

Max Parrot and Sebastien Toutant will represent Canada in the final round as Mark McMorris finished tied for 21st in the qualifying round and failed to advance as well.

With less opportunity to compete this past year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the World Cup event in Calgary was the only one he's been able to compete in this season leading up to the world championships.

"It's definitely been a quiet season, which sucks," he said. "We've had a lot of time to get in training instead of travelling all over the place to compete the whole season.

"So, a lot of us have learned a bunch of new stuff, but I got a call about two days before I left for this that I had a spot because, unfortunately, one of the people on the national team had hurt themselves. It was pretty short notice but I'm pretty stoked to be here and I'm riding with some of the highest-level athletes in snowboarding."

Working on his level of consistency, the opportunity to stick at this level of competition is there for the taking and Brearly is relishing the opportunity to learn from other members on a deep Canadian national team.

"They approach courses and competition differently and their ability to just have things on command when they see the course is an all-new level. It's pretty crazy, but I'm trying to learn from them and get there myself.

"With Mark [McMorris], who invented the triple cork, and Seb [Toutant], who invented the double cork, they're both at this point living legends in the sport. With those people at the top of the team, that gives everyone else more motivation to be better and [be] as good as they are."