A pair of American teenagers became breakout stars, and a 22-year-old from the Czech Republic proved to be one of the most versatile athletes in PyeongChang. Here’s a look back at some of the top moments from Olympic snowboarding this year.
Red Gerard becomes a star
After an unexpected gold medal in men’s slopestyle, Red Gerard became a cult legend. His run itself was great – he took creative lines throughout the course and used features that other riders were ignoring – but then the 17-year-old really became a breakout star thanks to his candid interviews.
Finnish coach does some casual knitting
All throughout the Games, the Finns were knitting. It wasn’t just on their downtime though – for the second straight Olympics, Finnish snowboard coach Antti Koskinen could be seen casually knitting at the top of the slopestyle course while his rider, Roope Tonteri, prepared to drop in – much to the delight of the internet.
“Hangry” Chloe Kim fulfills her destiny
Chloe Kim has been dominating women’s halfpipe for several years now, but she finally got to bring her talents to the Olympic stage. Viewers fell in love with her story, as well as her mid-competition tweets about ice cream and being “hangry.”
And during the contest, Kim gave everyone what they wanted on her victory lap – the back-to-back 1080s. The extremely difficult sequence of tricks has still never been done by any other woman, and even Kim has used it very sparingly over the last two years. But she landed it on her third run to put the exclamation point on her gold-medal performance.
Men’s halfpipe delivers an epic contest
There was a lot of hype for the men’s halfpipe final, and it did not disappoint. All throughout qualifying and then the final, the three primary medal favorites – Shaun White, Ayumu Hirano and Scotty James – were constantly trying to one-up each other with insanely progressive runs.
In the end, Shaun White got the gold with a clutch third and final run, but all three riders earned medals and snowboarding was the real winner in this contest.
Shaun White breaks down after historic gold medal
Freestyle snowboarders aren’t your typical Olympians. Many of them will openly say that Olympic gold isn’t their biggest goal. But Shaun White is not one of those people. He lives for the Olympics, and after a disappointing fourth-place result in Sochi, he broke down in tears when he found out that he had won in PyeongChang.
The win made White the first snowboarder to ever win three Olympic gold medals, and it also happened to be Team USA’s 100th all-time Winter Olympic gold.
Pierre Vaultier defends snowboard cross title
Men’s snowboard cross has been contested at the Olympics four times, but only two men have ever won gold. Seth Wescott won back-to-back golds in 2006 and 2010, then France’s Pierre Vaultier matched that feat by winning his second straight Olympic title in PyeongChang.
On a side note, one of the riders he beat in the big final (Regino Hernandez) won Spain’s first-ever Winter Olympic medal in a sport other than Alpine skiing and now has to get a tattoo of his equipment manager’s face.
Mick Dierdorff advances out of semifinal in most improbable fashion
As always, chaos reigned supreme in boardercross. There were a lot of wild moments, but perhaps the craziest was in the second semifinal of the men’s event.
U.S. racer Mick Dierdorff crashed near the top of the course and appeared to be out of the running for one of the three transfer spots into the final. But then four of the other five racers crashed, and you just have to see what happened for yourself:
Italy’s Michela Moioli gets her redemption in snowboard cross
Four years ago, Michela Moioi’s Olympics ended with a crash in the big final and a torn ACL. This time around, she took the gold medal by winning the big final against racers that included reigning Olympic champion Eva Samkova and boardercross legend Lindsey Jacobellis.
Anna Gasser outduels Jamie Anderson in an epic big air contest
The big air event was a great showcase of the progression in women’s snowboarding, and the final turned into an exciting duel between Team USA’s Jamie Anderson and Austria’s Anna Gasser.
Ultimately, it came down to the third and final run and both riders attempted a cab double cork 1080 – one of the most progressive tricks in women’s big air. Anderson couldn’t quite stick the landing, but Gasser stomped the trick and took over the lead to win gold.
Jamie Anderson racks up the hardware
After successfully defending her gold medal in slopestyle and then earning a silver medal in the inaugural Olympic big air event, Jamie Anderson now has three total medals in her career. She is tied with Shaun White, Kelly Clark and Zan Kosir for most Olympic snowboarding medals all-time.
Kyle Mack introduces the world to the “bloody Dracula”
Canada’s Sebastien Toutant deservedly won gold in men’s big air with a pair of 1620s, but for many snowboarders, Kyle Mack’s silver-medal performance will go down as the most memorable.
Mack is known for being a creative rider, and he showcased that with his choice of grabs. His backside triple cork 1440 with a Japan grab and then his frontside 1440 with a two-handed “bloody Dracula” grab produced two of the coolest-looking tricks in the whole contest.
Ester Ledecka wins gold in two sports
In PyeongChang, Ester Ledecka of the Czech Republic became the first athlete to compete in both Alpine skiing and snowboarding at the Winter Olympics. That would have been impressive enough in its own right, but then she went and won gold medals in both sports.
Ledecka’s win in Alpine skiing’s super-G was a total shock – even to herself – and quickly made her a cult hero among snowboarders. Her victory in snowboarding’s parallel giant slalom was more expected, as she entered as the reigning world champion and the favorite for gold.
Ledecka is the first woman to win gold medals in two sports at the same Winter Olympics. She’s the third athlete overall to accomplish the feat and the first since 1928.
Lee Sang-Ho wins South Korea’s first medal on snow
Lee Sang-Ho was nicknamed the “Napa Cabbage Boy” because he learned how to snowboard on a frozen cabbage patch that was turned into a sledding hill. In parallel giant slalom, he thrilled the local fans as he advanced all the way to the big final. Lee ended up with the silver medal, giving the host nation its first-ever Olympic medal on snow.
A squirrel tries to disrupt a snowboard race
Not even a reckless squirrel with a death wish could stop Austrian snowboarder Daniel Ulbing from winning her heat race. This may be the one time the phrase “near-miss at the Olympics” is used in a positive connotation.