WSMV News 4

Three Americans, including Red Gerard, reach men's big air final

Posted: Updated:
Red Gerard Red Gerard

Men's snowboard big air made its Olympic debut Wednesday in PyeongChang, and the qualifying round got so intense that one of the top gold medal favorites is already eliminated.

The biggest name missing from the final will be Marcus Kleveland. The 18-year-old from Norway fell on his second run and was unable to get into the final with the previous trick he had landed in his earlier run. Because of his ability to land quad corks — an off-axis rotation that includes four flips — Kleveland was considered one of the strongest contenders for gold in PyeongChang.

The final will still have plenty of star talent though.

Triple corks were in full effect during the qualifying round, as that proved to be the price of admission into the final for many riders.

In the first heat, Max Parrot stomped a pair of frontside triple cork 1440s to earn the top score. All three Americans in the heat — Kyle Mack, Chris Corning and slopestyle gold medalist Red Gerard — landed backside triple cork 1440s to book their spots in the final. Of the American trio, Mack — who was using a very stylish Japan grab on his triple cork — posted the highest score.

Earlier in the Olympics, Gerard won the slopestyle gold medal. He then went back to the U.S. for a few days to do a quick media tour before returning to PyeongChang for the big air event. But as Gerard explained, the travel hasn't really had an effect on his preparation for big air because he already had a plan in mind for what tricks he wanted to do.

"I don't really look at myself as a big air rider," he said, "so it was more that I kind of knew the tricks I wanted to do going into it and it wasn't really anything crazy, anything wild."

Sweden's Niklas Mattsson, who landed a backside 1620, and Switzerland's Michael Schaerer also advanced out of the first qualifying heat.

The action got pretty heavy in the second heat when a number of riders started going for 1620s.

New Zealand's Carlos Garcia Knight, Switzerland's Jonas Boesiger, Norway's Torgeir Bergrem and the Canadian duo of Mark McMorris and Sebastien Toutant all had to land variations of 1620s in order to safely advance out of the second heat.

"I knew coming here that I was going to have do something ballsy," Garcia Knight said. "The guys are riding so well, it's the best competition I've ever seen."

Great Britain's Billy Morgan also managed to sneak into the final after finishing sixth in the heat.

The riders have a few days off before reconvening for the final on Saturday (Friday night in the U.S.). Parrot and McMorris will be the top favorites, but with Kleveland out of the competition, the podium just got a little more wide-open for the rest of the field.

Norway's Staale Sandbech, the 2014 silver medalist in slopestyle, fell one spot short of qualifying for the final, but he predicted that an epic show is on the way.

"I don't now if you'll see something that's never been done," Sandbech said, "but you'll definitely see two very big tricks. Two [1620s] or an [1800] and a [1620]. Maybe something new."

Videos of some of the top runs from both qualifying heats can be found further below.

Heat 1 Results

The top six riders from each heat have advanced to the big air final.

1. Max Parrot (CAN), 92.50

2. Niklas Mattsson (SWE), 90.00

3. Kyle Mack (USA), 88.75

4. Chris Corning (USA), 88.00

5. Michael Schaerer (SUI), 87.00

6. Red Gerard (USA), 85.00

Heat 2 Results

The top six riders from each heat have advanced to the big air final.

1. Carlos Garcia Knight (NZL), 97.50

2. Jonas Boesiger (SUI), 96.00

3. Mark McMorris (CAN), 95.75

4. Torgeir Bergrem (NOR), 94.25

5. Sebastien Toutant (CAN), 91.00

6. Billy Morgan (GBR), 90.50

Powered by Frankly
Powered by WorldNow CNN
All content © 2018, WSMV; Nashville, TN. (A Meredith Corporation Station) . All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices.