Anna Gasser, you BEAST! Photo: Sam Mellish
Night shift: Tom Copsey on his own. Again. MegaLOLZ.
The first ever Olympic Big Air bling was dished out in the Alpensia Stadium today, with Anna Gasser coping with intense pressure from Jamie Anderson to take gold in the women’s Big Air finals… In one word: Historic.
Keen to avoid ruining a women’s snowboarding competition for the second time in two weeks, a forecast of high winds for Friday had the Olympic organisers hastily push the women’s Big Air finals forward a day, meaning it came a mere 24 hours after yesterday’s insane men’s qualification.
The contrast between genders isn’t as stark as was just a couple of years ago, such is the progression of the women’s kicker riding, and with a qualification round replete with Cab doubles, Cab- and back 9s, front 10s and even switch front 10 doubles the stage was set for undoubtedly the heaviest Big Air contest in women’s snowboarding history.
If you’d asked us a couple of weeks ago we’d probably have said that the podium would be made up of doublers. However, after the judges rewarded the full-send 900s of Zoi Sadowski Synott, Reiria Iwabuchi and Yuka Fujimoto in the qualis (switch backside, Cab and backside respectively) over half-Cab double backies or Cab double corks that weren’t sent deep – rightly, in our minds – then we were not so sure.
“But any finals is a pressure cooker environment; all the more so when the big fat guy-in-the-sky-hungry lenses of the world’s media are trained on you”
What we were more certain of is that – no pressure now – these finals were Anna Gasser’s to lose… on paper at least. If she was able to put down the tricks that we know she’s got in her locker, then chances are the other girls would be fighting for silver.
Unlike the qualifiers, the riders got three runs in these finals, with the combined score of the best two counting. To make things more interesting, these two best scoring runs have to be spun in different directions, and when you know Gasser has not only that switch front double 10 she scored 98 points with the other day, but also a back 10 double (with Mute or Melon grab), then there was nothing we’ve seen from the other ladies to suggest they could top that.
But any finals is a pressure cooker environment; all the more so when the big fat guy-in-the-sky-hungry lenses of the world’s media are trained on you. Who would cope with this factor best was also going to play a major role in where the bling went, and what colour it would be.
With this in mind, we sat back to witness women’s kicker riding enter a new era of madness…