Red Gerard all but clinched a spot on the U.S. Olympic snowboard team to defend his gold medal in Beijing by winning Saturday’s Dew Tour on the last run of the slopestyle contest.
Gerard, 21, scored 93.25 points on the 50th and final run of the day among the 25 riders. He capped his run with a switch backside 1620, 1998 Olympian Todd Richards said on host commentary.
Gerard supplanted countryman Chris Corning, who in the 49th run of the contest tallied 91.50. Canadian legend Mark McMorris finished third in Copper Mountain, Colorado.
Gerard is set to qualify for the Olympics next week, when the first U.S. Olympic slopestyle riders are determined via world rankings. Gerard came into this week ranked second in the world behind Norwegian Marcus Kleveland, who was eighth on Saturday.
It marked Gerard’s first victory since the February 2020 Dew Tour. Gerard entered the PyeongChang Olympics as an undersized underdog, then became the youngest Olympic snowboarding gold medalist in history at age 17. With continued solid showings over the next month, he will go into Beijing as a medal favorite.
Any rider who makes the team in slopestyle can also compete in big air at the Olympics.
Later Saturday, Olympic silver medalist Alex Ferreira earned his second consecutive ski halfpipe win in Olympic selection events. He appears headed to Beijing, as does Aaron Blunck, who won the first selection event last season and placed second in the third of six events on Saturday.
Birk Irving and two-time Olympic champion David Wise, who were fourth and fifth, are well-positioned for spots on the team, too.
Earlier, New Zealand’s Zoi Sadowski-Synnott won the women’s snowboard slopestyle event, confirming her Olympic medal contender status. Four years ago, she became the second New Zealand athlete to win a Winter Olympic medal (bronze).
No Americans made the podium. Jamie Anderson, the two-time Olympic champion, finished seventh. Anderson is still likely to qualify for the Olympics early next week via world rankings. She entered Dew Tour ranked No. 1.
The Dew Tour concludes Sunday with the snowboard halfpipe finals. Chloe Kim is on the verge of clinching her Olympic spot. Shaun White is in strong position to go to a fifth Games.
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