Snowboard medal events wrap up with historic result: Elena Koenz and Roope Tonteri crowned big air world champions
The snowboard medal events concluded today at the FIS Freestyle Ski & Snowboard World Championships at Kreischberg with a big air contest which earned his well-deserved spot in the history books. Twelve years after the Styrian venue hosted the first ever big air world championships event for the men, it was time for the ladies to complete the circle at the same venue.
And like a historic moments deserve to be, the tribune was packed with fans cheering for the riders who were ready to go big or go home.
In the women's event, Switzerland finally got its first medals with Elena Koenz (SUI) becoming the first ever female snowboarder to win a big air world title earning 157.75 with Merika Enne (FIN, 148.75) and teammate Sina Candrian (SUI, 143.25) rounding out the ladies' podium as second and third.
Stomping a switch backside 540 and a backside 540 Koenz clearly stood out; not only with her technical skills but also with her air time and smooth landings.
“It's something very special to be the first ever big air world champion”, Koenz said at the press conference half an hour after a moment worth to remember.
“Snowboarding is still developing, and it's good to have more contest we can compete in. It's been really funny today.”
However, the oldest rider in the final of the six best qualifiers also felt some pressure of being pushed to stomp two good tricks: “I tried not to think too much and tried to relax, breathe, and focus on the jump.”
So did the old and new world champion on the men's side of things, who comes once again from Finland, the country where six of the so far seven men's big air world championships events came from.
Roope Tonteri (FIN, 173.75) became the first ever snowboarder to successfully defend a big air world title edging off Darcy Sharpe (CAN, 169.50) and slopestyle bronze medallist Kyle Mack (USA, 163.50) to second and third, respectively.
Earning his career's third world title by landing an impressive cab 1440 and one of the best executed backside 1080's of the last years, Tonteri also achieved another milestone in history.
The Finnish ripper, who took silver in the slopestyle event a few days ago, also became the so far most successful freestyle snowboarder at world championships with three gold and one silver; all four medals earned within the last two major events.
“I didn't expect to take another gold. I played it safe on my last jump, and it turned out really good”, he said.
However, there is still something more to achieve for the best freestyle snowboarder of the Kreischberg world championships – a full medal set:
“I guess I have to do another world championships event to get that missing bronze.”