Canadian snowboarder Sebastien Toutant won the first-ever Olympic title for men's big air on Saturday, while teammates Max Parrot and Mark McMorris — the pre-event favorites — both had multiple falls that took them out of medal contention.
Team USA's Kyle Mack used stylish and creative grabs on his tricks to end up with a silver medal, and Billy Morgan took bronze to help Great Britain achieve its best Winter Olympic medal haul ever.
In the final, each of the 12 riders had three attempts at a trick. Each rider's top two scores were then added together to get their total score, with the caveat that the two scores had to come from different tricks.
Toutant got off to a good start by land a cab triple cork 1620 on his first run. Then he moved on to a backside 1620 on his second run. The backside 1620 ended up being the highest-scoring trick of the day and, when combined with his first-run score, moved him into the lead.
Two riders who had the tricks to potentially knock Toutant out of that top spot were his teammates Parrot and McMorris, who have combined to win the last five X Games big air competitions.
McMorris started off with his switch backside triple cork 1620 but was unable to land it on either of his first two runs. Without a good score on the board after two runs, McMorris was already of medal contention, so he just floated a method over the jump on his third.
As for Parrot, he put a solid score on the board with a backside triple cork 1620 melon on his first attempt. For Run 2, he moved on to the cab triple cork 1800 — one of the biggest tricks attempted in this contest — but couldn't land it. He tried the cab 1800 again on his third run but fell again.
With McMorris and Parrot unable to put down their tricks, and Norway's Marcus Kleveland eliminated in the qualifying round, that left medals up for grabs.
All three Americans in the final were able to land a pair of runs, but it was Mack who shined the brightest and found his way onto the podium.
Mack is known for his creative approach to snowboarding. He didn't attempt 1620s on his first two runs like a lot of the other riders, but he made up for it by using stylish and challenging grabs on his tricks.
The 20-year-old's first jump was a backside triple cork 1440 with a Japan grab. He followed that up with a frontside 1440 with a two-handed grab known as a "Bloody Dracula" grab.
No other riders were using such creative grabs on their tricks, and the judges rewarded Mack for it. His total score of 168.75 narrowly edged out Morgan's score of 168.00.
Morgan accumulated his score by landing a backside triple cork 1440 with a nose grab on his second run a frontside triple cork 1440 on his third run. His bronze medal is the fifth medal won by Great Britain at these Winter Olympics, a new all-time high for the country.
Just outside the medal positions, two more Americans slotted inside the top five.
Corning took fourth place after landing a frontside 1440 melon and a backside triple cork 1440 melon on his first two runs. Knowing he needed to do something big to improve his medal chances, Corning went for broke with a backside quad cork 1800. He was the only rider during the contest to attempt a quad, but he couldn't quite put it down.
Red Gerard finished behind him in fifth place. The 17-year-old won gold in slopestyle earlier at these Olympics but wasn't really considered a medal threat in big air. Though he didn't attempt some of the bigger tricks that the other athletes were trying, he put down two solid runs and finished ahead of medal favorites like Parrot and McMorris.
The United States will end the Pyeongchang Olympics with seven medals in snowboarding (4 gold, 2 silver, 1 bronze). As of this time, no other sport has accounted for more than four U.S. medals and no other sport has accounted for more than one U.S. gold medal.
Gold: Sebastien Toutant (CAN), 174.25
Silver: Kyle Mack (USA), 168.75
Bronze: Billy Morgan (GBR), 168.00
4. Chris Corning (USA), 153.00
5. Red Gerard (USA), 143.00
6. Michael Schaerer (SUI), 140.75
7. Torgeir Bergrem, (NOR), 131.00
8. Jonas Boesiger (SUI), 118.25
9. Max Parrot (CAN), 117.75
10. Mark McMorris (CAN), 72.50
11. Carlos Garcia Knight (NZL), 54.25
12. Niklas Mattsson (SWE), 36.00