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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.

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

Julia Marino, Hailey Langland qualify for Olympics; U.S. sweeps possible

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The addition of snowboard big air to the Olympics next month means Jamie AndersonJulia Marino and Hailey Langland have two chances for a U.S. podium sweep in PyeongChang.

Marino and Langland qualified for the U.S. big air and slopestyle team Saturday, joining the already qualified Anderson, who won slopestyle’s debut in Sochi.

Anderson, Marino and Langland swept the podium in that order at the last Olympic qualifier in slopestyle in Mammoth Mountain, Calif.

They also made up three of the top four riders at the 2017 X Games big air and slopestyle.

The U.S. has never swept the Winter Olympic medals in a women’s event but could do so in big air, slopestyle and even snowboard halfpipe in PyeongChang.

MORE: U.S. Olympic roster

While Anderson is the veteran, an X Games medalist 11 of the last 12 years, Marino and Langland represent the new wave of U.S. big air and slopestyle riders.

Marino, a 20-year-old from Connecticut who trains in Quebec, earned slopestyle and big air medals at X Games Aspen and Oslo last year in her debuts at those events.

They included slopestyle gold in Aspen over Anderson.

Langland, a 17-year-old from Southern California who plays the ukulele, guitar and piano, won the first X Games women’s big air title last year and took bronze in slopestyle in 2016.

Born in 2000, she is younger than any previous female Olympic snowboarding medalist.

“She reminds me of a younger me,” Anderson said, according to NBC Olympic Research.

The U.S. could add a fourth woman to the big air/slopestyle team, likely either Jessika Jenson or Ty Walker, a pair of 2014 Olympians in slopestyle.

The U.S. men are not as strong internationally in big air and slopestyle, where the Olympic favorites hail from Canada and Norway.

Kyle Mack won the last qualifier Saturday — without the top international riders in the field — to clinch the third and last automatic spot on the men’s big air/slopestyle team.

Chris Corning and Red Gerard previously qualified for PyeongChang. A fourth rider can be added via discretionary selection.

U.S. Olympic Qualifying Standings
Snowboard Big Air/Slopestyle 
(through five of five events)
Three riders auto qualify per gender; one possible discretionary spot
1. Chris Corning — 2,000* QUALIFIED
1. Red Gerard — 2,000* QUALIFIED
3. Kyle Mack — 1,800* QUALIFIED

4. Chandler Hunt — 1,400* (2nd and 3rd)
5. Ryan Stassel — 1,400 (2nd and 3rd)

1. Jamie Anderson — 2,000* QUALIFIED
2. Julia Marino — 1,800* QUALIFIED
3. Hailey Langland — 1,600* QUALIFIED
4. Jessika Jenson — 1,600 (1st and 3rd)
5. Ty Walker — 1,300 (2nd and 4th)
*Has automatic qualifying minimum of one top-three result against entire field.

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VIDEO: Shaun White scores perfect 100 to qualify for Olympics

Double sweep for U.S. men and women in snowboard slopestyle at Mammoth Grand Prix

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Reigning Olympic champion Jamie Anderson outscored her teenage teammates to claim gold in women’s snowboard slopestyle at the U.S. Grand Prix in Mammoth Mountain, Calif.

Anderson won the competition, the first Olympic selection event, with a second-run score of 80.25. She was joined on the podium by 16-year-old Hailey Langland and 19-year-old Julia Marino.

At last weekend’s X Games, Anderson finished second behind Marino, while Langland placed fourth.

American rookies took the top spots in the men’s slopestyle event as well, with 16-year-old Redmond Gerard scoring 87.95 to place first. Kyle Mack and Dylan Thomas completed the double sweep for U.S. snowboarders.

Gerard felt a few nerves before what turned out to be his first major title, and told U.S. Snowboarding, “When I was in the rail section I was like, ‘this jump section is going to be gnarly, I’m terrified right now!’ It turned out to be fine—just trust your landing and trust your skills and you’re good to go.”

Besides Anderson, all five medalists would be first-time Olympians if named to the U.S. Olympic team for the 2018 PyeongChang Games. The Grand Prix in Mammoth is the first of five competitions used to select the snowboarding slopestyle team. A maximum of three male and three female snowboarders can earn automatic berths onto the Olympic with podium finishes at these qualifying events.

In the women’s ski slopestyle event, Maggie Voisin won gold and was the only American to make it onto the podium. Devin Logan, Olympic silver medalist in the event, placed fourth.

Voisin was named to the 2014 Olympic team but wasn’t able to compete in Sochi due to an ankle injury sustained in practice.

The men’s ski slopestyle event was cancelled due to deteriorating conditions on Sunday afternoon.

MORE: Torin Yater-Wallace, Maddie Bowman lead U.S. skiers onto halfpipe podium at Olympic qualifier