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Canada’s Toutant wins inaugural big air gold; USA’s Mack takes silver

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A Canadian has claimed the gold medal in men’s snowboard big air, but not the one most people expected.

Sebastien Toutant won the first-ever Olympic title for men’s big air, while compatriots Max Parrot and Mark McMorris — the pre-event favorites — both had multiple falls that took them out of medal contention.

U.S. snowboarder Kyle Mack used stylish and creative grabs on his tricks to end up with a silver medal, and Billy Morgan took bronze to help Great Britain achieve its best Winter Olympic medal haul ever.

In the final, each of the 12 riders had three attempts at a trick. Each rider’s top two scores were then added together to get their total score, with the caveat that the two scores had to come from different tricks.

Toutant got off to a good start by land a cab triple cork 1620 on his first run. Then he moved on to a backside 1620 on his second run. The backside 1620 ended up being the highest-scoring trick of the day and, when combined with his first-run score, moved him into the lead.

Two riders who had the tricks to potentially knock Toutant out of that top spot were his teammates Parrot and McMorris, who have combined to win the last five X Games big air competitions.

McMorris started off with his switch backside triple cork 1620 but was unable to land it on either of his first two runs. Without a good score on the board after two runs, McMorris was already of medal contention, so he just floated a method over the jump on his third.

Gold: Sebastien Toutant (CAN), 174.25
Silver: Kyle Mack (USA), 168.75
Bronze: Billy Morgan (GBR), 168.00

Men’s snowboard big air preview

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Now that Anna Gasser of Austria has successfully captured the first-ever Olympic gold medal in women’s snowboard big air, it’s almost time to crown the first-ever Olympic champion on the men’s side.

Big air snowboarding has progressed tremendously in recent years, and there’s been a lot of build-up to these Olympics, so expect heavy tricks to come out quickly in the final.

Or as Mark McMorris put it: “There’s probably [going to be] some mind-boggling s—.”

Every time there’s a big air event, there’s always talk about “quads” — a type of trick that features four inverted flips. It’s such a progressive trick that only two riders have landed a quad in competition, only a few others have done it in training, and many are hesitant to even try.

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Anna Gasser edges out Jamie Anderson for big air gold

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With a pair of extremely progressive tricks, Austria’s Anna Gasser has become the first-ever Olympic champion in women’s snowboard big air.

Gasser landed all three of her jumps in the big air final, but it was the last one — a cab double cork 1080 — that knocked Jamie Anderson out of the top spot and gave Gasser the win.

Anderson ended up with a silver medal. It’s her second medal of these Olympics and the third medal of her career.

New Zealand’s Zoi Sadowski-Synnott took bronze.

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