Uplifting the spirits of disheartened Canadian sports fans, Sebastien Toutant has won the first Olympic men’s snowboarding big air gold medal on Saturday, taking the title with a combined score of 174.25 from his two best runs in the Pyeongchang Winter Games final.
American’s Kyle Mack, took the silver with 168.75 points, while Britain’s Billy Morgan won the bronze with 168.00.
“I’ve always been saying, ‘If you’re not first, you’re last’,” said Toutant. “Today I knew I had the tricks and I knew I could’ve done well, I’m just so happy it’s gone my way. The format is three jumps, best two count. I put down my first two runs, I mean, that’s the best scenario you can ask for.”
Toutant, who has been struggling with back problems added, “A couple of months ago I couldn’t even snowboard so it definitely feels great that I’m able to ride at my best and to put the tricks down.”
He said he had done a cab triple 1620 (84.75 points) on his first jump and a backside triple cork 1620 (89.50) on the second, was hopeful that big air’s Olympic debut would boost its popularity. “Hopefully a lot of fans out there discovered a new passion, a new sport.”
Silver medallist Mack said he was delighted to have pulled off a ‘frontside bloody Dracula’ — a trick that can leave snowboarders with a smashed up mouth if they get it wrong.
“The whole reason I wanted to do snowboarding is to bring style into snowboarding, it’s the main thing I’ve always worked at,” he added. Britain’s Morgan was as surprised as anyone with his bronze medal. He said he thought he had blown his chance when he failed to land his first jump. “I never saw this moment coming. It blows my mind actually,” the 28-year-old said. “This is the good thing about the sport, you never know who’s going to win and that’s what makes it such a fun event to watch.”