By Krystal Hu and Muyu Xu
BEIJING (Reuters) -Anna Gasser knew she needed something special on her last run to win the Beijing Games Big Air event on Tuesday and the Austrian did just that, landing one of the hardest tricks in women’s snowboarding to pip New Zealand’s Zoi Sadowski-Synnott for gold.
It was a case of deja vu for Gasser, who also had to pull something big out of the bag in Pyeongchang four years ago to win the event on its Olympic debut.
On Tuesday her perfect cab double cork 1260 brought her 95.50, the day’s highest single score, and her 185.50 total from her two best runs lifted her to the top of the podium.
Sadowski-Synnott, who won New Zealand’s first Winter Olympics gold medal in slopestyle in Beijing, missed her landing in her last 1260 trick as she lost control due to her speed.
Her combined score of 177.00 was good enough for silver ahead of Japan’s Kokomo Murase, who scored a combined 171.50 to take bronze in her first Olympics.
Gasser said she had initially planned to perform the cab double cork 1260 in her opening jump but had to change her plans due to wind conditions.
The defending champion said her win as a “surprise”.
“In Pyeongchang I felt myself that I was the big favourite, I won Big Airs leading up and I had tricks no one else had,” she added.
“This time, I was like, it’s going to be hard to get on the podium. This one feels way more unexpected for me.”
Sadowski-Synnott had nothing but praise for the gold medallist.
“Seeing Anna do the cab 12 and defend her medal was a great moment and we’re all stoked for each other,” she said.
Murase, who rushed to hug the other competitors after they attempted the hardest tricks, said there was great spirit among the snowboarders.
“They are not rivals. We’re competing with each other, it’s friendly,” she added.
(Reporting by Krystal Hu and Muyu Xu, Jenna Zucker in Beijing; Editing by Peter Rutherford)
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