Kyle Mack of U.S. wins silver, but snowboarders who survive are champions in big air

David Wharton, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Olympics

PYEONGCHANG, South Korea -- The bloody patch on Max Parrot's chin pretty much said it all.

On a day when some of the world's best snowboarders pushed each other to go for broke, the inaugural men's big air contest at the 2018 Winter Olympics turned into a game of survival.

One after another, pre-contest favorites -- including Parrot -- fell while attempting high-level tricks.

That left an opening for Sebastien Toutant of Canada to win gold by landing a pair of difficult 1620 jumps and then watching from the bottom of the hill as the riders who came after him crashed and burned.

"It was really stressful waiting down there," Toutant said. "I wasn't wishing like bad luck to anyone ... but happy to hold up."

The silver went to Kyle Mack of the U.S. and the bronze to the surprising Billy Morgan of Great Britain. Mack, in particular, has always seen himself as more of a stylist than a daredevil.

Sponsored Video Stories from LifeZette

"I was really stoked," he said. "To walk away with a silver here today is just mind-blowing."

The big air event has riders starting from atop a 160-feet tower, flying down a long ramp and launching themselves off a jump as judges score them on a variety of elements. Each competitor gets three tries with the two highest scores counting.

Saturday in Pyeongchang marked the event's Olympic debut for men -- the women went earlier, with Anna Gasser of Austria winning -- so the 12 finalists were hungry for a historic victory.

They were also performing in front of Ivanka Trump, who showed up in a red ski suit and caused television cameramen to swivel their lenses toward the stands in the early part of the competition.


swipe to next page


blog comments powered by Disqus