After yesterday’s WOMEN’S FINALS, Big Air skiing at the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, China wrapped up on Wednesday, February 9 with the much-anticipated men’s finals.
It was a nerve-wracking, unpredictable affair as the 12 finalists competed over who could send their tricks deeper into the landing of the Beijing’s Shougang Big Air jump, with many crashing hard in the process.
Though the other podium places were hotly contested, top qualifier Birk Ruud seemed to have a lock on gold right out of the gate. He stomped the day’s highest scoring trick on his first run, a switch left triple 1980 mute, then quickly backed it up with a left double bio 1800 mute for a commanding lead that was never seriously in jeopardy.
After crashing on his first run, the USA’s Colby Stevenson bounced back with a nose-butter triple cork 1620 japan and a switch left double 1800 cuban to jump into the silver medal position.
Henrik Harlaut, who was sitting in second place after two runs, found himself in fourth on the final jump, bumped down by Stevenson and Swedish teammate Oliwer Magnusson. Under pressure, Harlaut improved the score of his nose butter triple 1620 safety to stay on the podium, claiming his first Olympic medal in three appearances.
With a forward left double 19 blunt and a switch left double 18 blunt, Magnusson had to be satisfied with fourth place for the day. Italian rookie Leonardo Donaggio and Spanish veteran Javier Lliso, both dark-horse entrants to these finals, can be very happy with their fifth and sixth place finishes.
Alex Hall—on many people’s list for a medal—uncharacteristically missed his signature buick grab on his first jump, then couldn’t put down the landing gear on his final last-ditch attempt at a switch 2160, the trick that won him the X Games just a few weeks ago. He ended up in eighth place.
Despite landing a monster triple cork 1800 mute on his first hit, Evan McEachran sent his follow-up tricks too deep, crashing out in ninth place. Christian Nummedal, Mac Forehand and Tormod Frostad also couldn’t deliver more than one landed trick.