Following on from the technicalities – and soaring levels of progression – shown during yesterday’s women’s final, the men were in Big Air Shougang as the big air event made its men’s debut in the Olympics. And the final didn’t disappoint, with Norwegian Birk Ruud taking the first men’s big air gold, with Colby Stevenson in silver and Edollo, Henrik Harlaut, taking home bronze.
Having qualified first, after a pretty hotly contested qualification round on Monday, Ruud threw a massive switch 1980 mute on his first run of the finals, netting him a score of 95.75 – the highest scoring run of the finals.
This was followed with a dub 1800 mute from Ruud, scoring him a 92.00 in the second round – enough to confirm that he’d won the gold before he’d even rolled into his final run. In knowing that he’d be taking home the gold, Rudd dropped into his final run flying the Norwegian flag into the skies of the Shougang steel mill.
Arguably the favourite on the day, America’s Alex Hall failed to nail the same aerial-style dub cork 2160 that he treated us with in the Aspen X Games just weeks before heading out to Beijing.
Instead the American attempted a switch 18 in his first run, but frustratingly failed to hold his grab. This mounted the pressure onto Hall’s last jump of the finals, where he looked to pull the 2160 out the bag, but he failed to pull off the six full rotations, crashing on the landing.
Speaking after the finals, Hall reflected on his game plan for the day: “So I was trying to decide between two tricks, that I should play at all safer, or really go for it. I ended up going for my hardest trick which I’m stoked I just went for it but I didn’t quite have enough air time so I couldn’t quite land it, but I just did try and give it all I got and sometimes things don’t go your way, so it’s all good.”