Freeskiing at the 2022 Olympic Games in Beijing, China kicked off today with the men’s and women’s big air qualifications.
26 women and 31 men stepped up to represent their countries at the first-ever Olympic Ski Big Air contest on Beijing’s permanent Big Air ramp.
Canada’s Megan Oldhamm led the women’s qualifications round, landing a switch left double 900 japan and a forward left double 1260 safety. She was trailed by Tess Ledeux (left double 1260 mute, switch left 1080 double japan) and Anastasia Tatalina (left double 1260 mute, right cork 900 cuban).
Athletes missing the cut included top American competitor Maggie Voisin, who had trouble dialing in her double 12, and Kelly Sildaru, who struggled uncharacteristically with her switch right 1080. A big surprise came from Austria’s Lara Wolf, who attempted a switch double bio 1260 but couldn’t stick it.
On the men’s side, Birk Ruud led the field with a hard-to-believe switch left triple 1980 mute and a left double bio 1800 mute. Alex Hall followed close behind with a forward double cork 1980 and switch double 1800, both with his signature Buick grab. Third went to Oliwer Magnusson with forward and switch doubl 1800 tails.
Upsets and disappointments in the men’s field: Much-hyped Austrian up-and-comer Matej Svancer missed the finals, landing in 26th place for the day after dominating Big Airs for most of the season. Swiss powerhouse Andri Ragettli also narrowly missed the cut in 14th place, as did Canada’s Eduard Thierrault in 13th, who was viciously underscored on a perfect triple cork 1620 guitar.
Big performances came from Italy’s Leonardo Donaggio and Spain’s Javier Lliso, who both delivered the performance of a lifetime to qualify for finals in their first Olympic appearances.
The Women’s freeskiing Olympic Big Air final goes down on Tuesday, 8 February at 3:00am CET. The men’s final will follow on Wednesday, 9 February at 4:00am CET. See the official schedule here.
How to watch: In Europe, the easiest way to watch all Olympic events is to buy a Eurosport subscription (they are currently offering a free 3-day trial). You can also check the live feed websites of the national broadcasters in your country. (SRF in Switzerland in particular has a reliable feed, and can be accessed via VPN from other countries.)