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Anna Gasser tops qualifying for women's snowboard big air

The Olympic debut of snowboard big air did not disappoint, as the women put on a show with a very heavy qualifying r...

Posted: Feb 19, 2018 5:56 AM
Updated: Feb 19, 2018 5:56 AM

The Olympic debut of snowboard big air did not disappoint, as the women put on a show with a very heavy qualifying round.

After two runs, it was Austria's Anna Gasser atop the standings. She'll lead the top 12 riders from qualifying into the final, which will take place Friday in PyeongChang (Thursday night in the U.S.).

And based off what went down in the qualifying round, Friday's final will be must-see viewing.

One thing to look for will be doubles, which have taken women's snowboarding by storm over the last year or so. And sure enough, the doubles came out in qualifying.

Gasser, the favorite for gold in this event, was the only rider to land a cab double cork 1080, and she was rewarded with the top score of the qualifying round (a 98.0).

Last week's slopestyle gold and silver medalists, Team USA's Jamie Anderson and Canada's Laurie Blouin, landed cab double cork 900s. U.S. medal hopeful Julia Marino nailed a pair of cab double underflips.

All four of those riders safely advanced to the final round.

But doubles weren't the only tricks scoring big.

Japan's Yuka Fujimori and Reira Iwabuchi and New Zealand's Zoi Sadowski-Synnott all landed variations of the 900 on their second runs and finished inside the top five overall. Switzerland's Sina Candrian also made the final after landing a frontside 1080.

"This is probably the heaviest comp women's big air has ever had," Sadowski-Synnot said afterward. "(I have) never seen this many 9s or 10s all at once."

The overall level of riding witnessed in the qualifying round was something that normally might have been reserved for the final. That means the final could end up going down as one of the most progressive contests in the history of women's big air.

"The level has been so high and so it was so sick and a little different than a World Cup, especially after slopestyle where we didn't really show our best riding," Gasser said. "Already this qualifying has made up for that."

One big difference in the final, though, is that riders will need to land two different tricks — not just their one best trick — over the course of their three runs.

"I think here we're going to see one of the first big airs where...a girl has to do different doubles [to win]," Gasser predicted.

The final will include three U.S. riders — Anderson, Marino and Jessika Jenson. The lone American to miss the final was 17-year-old Hailey Langland, who landed a cab 720 on her first run but washed out on a cab 900 attempt on her second run. Her cab 720 only held up for 14th place, putting her just two spots shy of making the 12-rider final.

Videos of the top runs can be found further below.

Results

The top 12 riders have advanced to the final.

1. Anna Gasser (AUT), 98.00
2. Yuka Fujimori (JPN), 94.25
3. Reira Iwabuchi (JPN), 92.75
4. Laurie Blouin (CAN), 92.25
5. Zoi Sadowski-Synnott (NZL), 92.00
6. Jamie Anderson (USA), 90.00
7. Miyabi Onitsuka (JPN), 86.50
8. Sina Candrian (SUI), 86.00
9. Julia Marino (USA), 85.25
10. Silje Norendal (NOR), 77.50
11. Spencer O'Brien (CAN), 76.75
12. Jessika Jenson (USA), 76.25

Highlights

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