Canada’s Sebastien Toutant won the gold medal in snowboard big air on Saturday morning, as many of the favourites struggled to land their tricks.
Toutant, 25, of Montreal, took aver the top spot after landing his first two jumps cleanly, and he hung on for the victory.
Max Parrot, 22, of Bromont, Que., the favourite in the event, finished out of the medals when he couldn’t finish his second and third jumps.
American Kyle Mack won the silver medal and Billy Morgan of Great Britain took the bronze.Mark McMorris, 24, of Regina, missed his first two tricks and had no shot at a medal with his third jump.
Toutant’s gold was the fourth snowboard medal of Pyeongchang 2018 for the Canadians.
After the first jumps on Saturday morning, Parrot was in second place and Toutant sat in the third. McMorris fell on his first jump and was in eighth.
Toutant moved into first place after the second jumps. McMorris missed his landing again and Parrot, trying a trick with six full rotations, couldn’t land it cleanly, setting up a must-have third jump.
The Canadian men came into the Big Air finals with two medals between them, but still a sense of unfinished business. At the snowboard event at Phoenix Snow Park that took place close to the start of the Games, McMorris led for much of the event but was passed by American teenager Red Gerard for the gold and then his teammate Parrot for the silver.
That competition took place amid stiff winds, and the competitors said afterward that they were not able to perform their toughest runs and their best tricks. Even Parrot, in taking silver, opted to try a “safe” run for his final slopestyle attempt, having crashed in each of his first two runs.
And Toutant came within inches of a podium-worthy performance himself at slopestyle, just missing the landing on his last trick after an excellent final run.
“Definitely slopestyle was a real bummer that I couldn’t finish my run with the last trick,” Toutant said after training at Alpensia Olympic Park last week. “But I love competing, I love snowboarding. “You know, you get bummed, but after a couple days you get excited to go ride. It’s going to be all good. In the moment I was bummed out, but I’m glad I get to show up again, and maybe this time I can get a medal.”
Parrot won his qualifying heat on Wednesday with a score of 92.00. Toutant scored 91.00 in his heat to make the final, while McMorris scored 95.70 in the same heat to book his spot in Saturday’s big show. The top two qualifiers on Wednesday were Carlos Garcia Knight of New Zealand and Switzerland’s Jonas Boesiger.