Austria’s Anna Gasser reacts after falling during the women’s’ slopestyle finals at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics on February 9, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia. On Tuesday at the Beijing Olympics, she won gold in the women’s big air final. File Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo
Feb. 14 (UPI) — Anna Gasser of Austria defended her Women’s snowboarding big air title in Beijing on Tuesday, winning gold in a competition that came down to the last run.
Gasser who won the Pyeongchang gold medal in 2018 repeated her victory on Tuesday with a 185.50 score that was combined from her best two of three runs down the Big Air Shougang jump.
Taking the silver was Australia’s Zoi Sadowski-Synnott with a score of 177.00 and Kokomo Murase of Japan won silver with 171.50, giving the Asian nation its first-ever big air medal.
The three medalists had scored high enough in their first two runs to ensure they would medal but their positions on the podium were still up in the air until the snow falling from Sadowski-Synnott’s final run settled.
Murase, who was sitting in third and the antepenultimate to take her last run, failed to land her jump.
Gasser, as the penultimate snowboarder, pulled off a massive 1080 that gave her the day’s highest score of 95.50 and the gold medal.
“It was so unexpected for me today to win gold,” Gasser told Olympics.com following the event, stating it was her competitors and the growth they have achieved in the last four years that has pushed her.
“Without them, I wouldn’t be where I am today as they inspire me everyday in training,” she said. “I can’t believe this happened and I’m so happy with where the sport has gone this last couple of years.”
The Australian, who had the gold in women’s snowboard slopestyle on Saturday, sought to re-seat herself in first but fell on her final trick.
Japan’s Reira Iwabuchi finished fourth with a score of 166.00, but she made history in doing so by attempting the first-ever 1260 in an effort in her final run in an effort to propel her up the standings.
The trick was executed flawlessly but she couldn’t stick the landing, earning a 37.00 score. As exited the course, her competitors swarmed the 20-year-old two-time Olympian with hugs and comments of congratulations.
American Hailey Langland finished with 12th with a score of 53.25.
From left to right, silver medalist Queralt Castellet of Spain, gold medalist Chloe Kim of the USA and bronze medalist Sena Tomita of Japan stand on the podium with their national flags after the women’s snowboard halfpipe finals at the Winter Olympics in Zhangjiakou, China, on February 10. Photo by Bob Strong/UPI | License Photo