In one of the most progressive women's slopestyle contests to-date, a pair of Swiss freeskiers landed big tricks and earned the top two spots on the podium in PyeongChang.
Sarah Hoefflin took the gold medal with a score of 91.20 on her third and final run. The 27-year-old had put herself into medal position with a conservative first run, then attempted to add a switch double cork 900 to her run after that. Hoefflin fell on her second run, then nailed the trick on her third run to help her get the top score.
Her teammate, 18-year-old Mathilde Gremaud had a progressive trick of her own, a switch double cork 1080, which she unleashed right off the bat with her first run. Gremaud's first-run score of 88.00 held up for a silver medal.
Isabel Atkin, who was born in Boston but competes for Great Britain, came through with an 84.60 to knock U.S. skier Maggie Voisin off the podium and capture the bronze medal. Atkin's medal is just the second Winter Olympic medal that Great Britain has ever won in a snow sport. (The first came in 2014 in women's snowboard slopestyle.)
Voisin was one of two Americans in the final. She finished fourth, while teammate Devin Logan took 10th.
For Logan, who is celebrating her 25th birthday today, her time in PyeongChang is only beginning. She'll compete in halfpipe qualifying just two days from now. (She's the only freeskier pulling double duty in both slopestyle and halfpipe at these Olympics.)
One of the day's biggest surprises came in the qualifying round when Tess Ledeux, a 16-year-old from France considered a medal favorite, finished 15th and did not advance to the final.
Hoefflin was the second-oldest skier in the field but a relative newcomer to the freeskiing scene. She grew up as a recreational skier but didn't start freeskiing until she was in her early 20s. In fact, Hoefflin originally had completely different career plans. It wasn't until after several unsuccessful attempts to get into medical school that she decided to give skiing a shot.
Now she's an Olympic champion.
"I wasn't really expecting too much, but I think the best thing about today is I managed to step on the podium with my teammate," Hoefflin said afterward. "That was a dream."
Double corks like the ones landed by Hoefflin and Gremaud are relatively new to women's freeskiing. They're also the result of immense progression over the last year.
Both Swiss skiers were attempting switch versions of the double cork, where they take off from the jump while skiing backwards and then flip upside-down twice while rotating through the air before landing.
It was clear before the Olympics even started that it would be hard to get atop the PyeongChang podium without doubles, so it's no shock that the top two runs both included variations of the trick. For Hoefflin, landing that trick was a priority.
"I just wanted to land the switch left double 9," she said. "That's all I cared about. For me it's not really about the medal, it's mostly about the skiing and I just had that trick in mind just before my third run. That's all I wanted to do, just land that trick. It worked and I'm happy."
Videos of the top runs can be found further below.
1. Sarah Hoefflin (SUI), 91.20
2. Mathilde Gremaud (SUI), 88.00
3. Isabel Atkin (GBR), 84.60
4. Maggie Voisin (USA), 81.20
5. Johanne Killi (NOR), 76.80
6. Yuki Tsubota (CAN), 74.40
7. Katie Summerhayes (GBR), 71.40
8. Jennie-Lee Burmansson (SWE), 65.00
9. Tiril Sjaastad Christiansen (NOR), 60.40
10. Devin Logan (USA), 56.80
11. Emma Dahlstrom (SWE), 52.40
12. Anastasia Tatalina (OAR), 51.20