Butte skier Wilson jumps into Olympic run Thursday

Butte Olympian Brad Wilson will be one of the early goers as the 2018 Winter Games begin competition on Thursday in PyeongChang, South Korea.

Representing Team USA in the men’s moguls freestyle skiing event, Wilson, a second-time Olympian will be among those in qualifying runs on Thursday. The qualifying is to stat at 7:45 p.m. (MST).

The 25-year-old Wilson is one of four Americans competing in the event. The second round of qualifying and then the finals will both be held on Monday when the men’s mogulist medalists will be determined.

Wilson is the seventh-ranked mogulist in the world and is No. 1 in the United States. His teammates are first-time Olympians Troy Murphy, Emerson Smith and Casey Andringa.

Wilson, a 2011 Butte Central graduate, finished 20th in the 2014 Winter Olympics held at Sochi, Russia. He suffered a costly fall while in a go-for-broke attempt that likely had him in position for a medal before the tumble. Wilson’s older brother, Bryon, a 2006 Butte High graduate, was the Bronze Medalist at the 2010 Winter Olympics of Vancouver, British Columbia.

The nbcolympics.com preview of the event called Wilson “Team USA’s best medal hope.” He was the World Cup overall silver medalist in dual moguls, an event not contested in the Olympics.

“No Olympic dreams will be snuffed out before the Olympic flame is even lit,” wrote Shaun Smith in the preview for the nbcolympics.com site. “The organizers have split the qualifying round across two separate days, so no athletes are going to be eliminated before they get the chance to walk in the ceremony.”

Official opening ceremonies are scheduled for Friday.

Event favorites Wilson will be going after include Mikael Kingsbury of Canada, Ikuma Horishima of Japan, Choi Jae-Woo of South Korea and Philippe Marquis of Canada.

Kingsbury has won 48 World Cup moguls races, including 13 in a streak that ended recently. Hiroshima won both the moguls and dual moguls at last year’s World Championships. Woo will be skiing in his homeland. Marquis recently suffered a torn ACL, but is expected to compete, the preview said.