The 2019/20 big air World Cup season went into the history books on Saturday night at Sun Trust Park on Saturday, the home of Major League baseball’s Atlanta Braves, where Japan’s Reira Iwabuchi put an exclamation point on her second-straight big air crystal globe-season with a victory, and the USA’s own Chris Corning stomped a final-run quad cork 1800 to make history, win the event, and walk away with the seventh crystal globe of his career.
The first big air World Cup on US soil since competition was held at Boston’s Fenway Park almost four years ago did not disappoint, with some heavy tricks going down from the start of qualifications to the end of finals on Friday.
Big air ace Iwabuchi claims second-straight globe with win
While there was a bit of a let down when it was announced that US star Jamie Anderson would not be competing in finals, the rest of women on hand stepped up with some impressive riding, and none more so than Iwabuchi. Putting down a perfect backside double cork 1080 and a cab double underflip 900, 18-year-old Iwabuchi earned a two-jump score of 170.50 for a dominant victory.
“I’m happy for the two times I got first place in big air this year,” Iwabuchi said before receiving her crystal globe, “I was able to do the tricks I wanted to and this year, and big air competition was so good for me.”
Iwabuchi would finish the big air campaign with 2900 points, but her head and shoulders above the rest of the women’s field, with second overall rider Brooke Voigt of Canada finishing the 2019/20 with 1620 points.
Second place on the night in Atlanta would go to Iwabuchi’s Japanese teammate Kokomo Muruse, as the 15-year-old scored a World Cup podium in just her second competition to make good on the promise she showed last weekend in Beijing when she qualified in first. Murase put down the exact same jumps as Iwabuchi, but a bobble on the landing in her back double 1080 dropped her two-jump score down to 159.50.
The above-mentioned Voigt would earn her second big air World Cup podium of the season, finishing in third place with 143.25 points for a tweaked frontisde 720 melon and backside 720 mute.
Miyabi Onitsuka (JPN) would round out the big air top three season rankings in third place.
Corning knocks it out of the park with final run quad
Over on the men’s side of things it was looking for all the world like it would be Nicolas Laframboise’s (CAN) second World Cup win of the season, until Chris Corning dropped in for his third and final run of the evening and did what had never been done before, stomping his signature quad corked 1800 melon to become the first rider ever to land a four-times inverted trick on a scaffold big air jump.
It was the second time in two weeks that Corning made some history with the trick, after he also stomped it in Beijing - a first-ever for a city competition, albeit on a jump much different than the one he would accomplish the feat on in Atlanta.
Added the groundbreaking quad score to the points of his frontisde 1440 melon from his first run, Corning would finish with a total of 177.25 for a thrilling win in front of the home US crowd.
“I just hucked it really hard,” Corning laughed from the finish area when asked how he did what many thought to be impossible, “I knew I could do it. I knew I had enough time on this jump, just because I know what I’ve done before, and I was able to think about the right timing and stuff over the past couple of days. I knew I could do it, I just wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to do it tonight. But the jump got harder and more solid and I thought, ‘well, heck, maybe we’re gonna do it.’ So we did it.”
Corning was nearly uncatchable on the World Cup leaderboard heading into the competition, but the victory in Atlanta made it decisive, as Corning claimed the 2019/20 big air crystal globe with 3200 points to Lamframboise’s 2300. Altogether the 20-year-old now Corning now has seven career World Cup titles across the big air, slopestyle, and freestyle overall categories
19-year-old Laframboise would have to settle for second place on the night in Atlanta, with a score of 166.75 for his frontside and backside triple cork 1440s, while also settling for second place on the 2019/20 big air World Cup standings.
Third place would go to Japan’s Ryoma Kimata, giving the 17-year-old his first World Cup podium in just his third start. Kimata stomped a cab and a regular frontside 1440 for a score of 163.00. Kimata would also finish third on the season rankings behind Corning and Laframboise, with the three top riders on the season ordering themselves perfectly on the Atlanta podium.