Anna Gasser first ever Olympic big air champion

22 February 2018 10:51
Anna Gasser lived up to the expectations earning the first ever Olympic big air Gold
Anna Gasser lived up to the expectations earning the first ever Olympic big air Gold -
GEPA Pictures

With the qualifiers having held a lot of promise three days ago, the best twelve riders of the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games were able to keep the momentum in today's finals staged in the Alpensia Ski Jumping Stadium putting on another great show which peaked with the final jump of the competition.

In fact, the ladies did deliver even more in the brilliant to watch three run, best two combined runs counting format pushing the level of riding further than in any other contest before.

With the first athlete dropping in it was finally time to send it and riders were up to go big.

However, after the first 1080 attempts couldn't be landed by Julia Marino (USA) and Sina Candrian (SUI) it was once again contest machine Jamie Anderson (USA) setting the first bar.

The 2014 and 2018 Olympic slopestyle Gold medallist went deep on her frontside 1080 scoring a 90.00 – the third highest score of the day – to move into first position with the top three qualifiers Anna Gasser (AUT), Yuka Fujimori (JPN) and Reira Iwabuch (JPN) not being able to up the ante with their respective cab double underflip, backside 900 and cab 900.

The second run saw again some of the girls struggling but Sina Candrian (SUI; 76.25), Gasser (89.00) and teenage sensation Zoi Sadowski Synnott (NZL; 92.00) were able to throw their hats in the ring.

Candrian managed to power down a frontside 1080 backside grab while the Austrian top favourite landed her backside double cork 1080 but didn't had the air time she was looking for just barely making it over the knuckle.

Sadowski Synnott, only 16 years of age, who had wowed the crowd with a monster double wildcat in her first run brought down the arguably most beautiful and stylish switch backside 900 ever to be landed in a women's competition which placed her within reach of the medals.

However, Anderson put some more pressure on her title competitors with a perfectly executed big cab double cork 900.

With the US rider therefore already having a score of at least 177.25 under her belt, the ladies had to go all in to seize their chance for Gold, Silver and Bronze in the third round.

And they did - with varying degrees of success.

Olympic Big Air Finals Ladies

While Candrian earned a fifth rank finish with a switch backside 900, Sadowski Synnott and Jamie Anderson couldn't improve their scores bailing on their respective massive cab 1080 and frontside double cork 1080.

And after Iwabuchi and Fujimori also couldn't land their backside double cork 1080 and frontside double cork 900 therefore missing out the podium by inches the women's battle for the title had to be decided with the final jump.

And as the wind was picking up slightly the final seconds of the first ever Olympic big air final became a test for the nerves with Anna Gasser.

Knowing she had to throw down a trick which would scratch the 90s at least, the reigning big air World Champion waited for the right moment to drop in.

And unlike her second run, the 26-year-old got the pop she needed stomping a textbook cab double cork 1080 to not only become the first women ever to land a backside double cork 1080 and cab double cork 1080 in the same contest but also the well-deserved first ever Olympic big air Champion.

"Today everyone rode so well so it was more exciting for me than I thought, with having to put that last one down," Gasser said.

"I was standing up there and I knew I had the silver and I only could win and I was like 'No, I'm going to go full risk and if it works out then I deserve this medal'. Thankfully it worked out."

Olympic Big Air Finals Ladies

With a total score of 185.00 the Austrian snowboard star took home the second ever Olympic Gold for Austria in snowboarding edging off Anderson (177.25) and Sadowski Synnott (157.50) to the respective second and third.

Anderson therefore became the third women to win a third Olympic medal drawing level with her teammate Kelly Clark.

With history to be written today, Sadowski Synnott, who had snatched slopestyle Silver at the 2017 World Championships, secured the first ever Olympic snowboard medal for New Zealand.

After winning New Zealand's first Olympic Winter Games medal in 26 years: Sadowski Synnott explained: "Very stoked. I'm just happy I put down those first two (runs). I'm really proud of the tricks, and then I had to onload on the third with a trick I've never done before, but I'm still really proud of myself for putting them down on the first two."

Full results can be viewed here.