In one of the most anticipated events of the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics, American Nick Goepper skied his way to silver in the men's slopestyle skiing final, but it was a dominating first run by Norway's Øystein Bråten that topped a talented field at Phoenix Park. Rounding out the podium, Canada's Alex Beaulieu-Marchand used a technical array of jumps and rail tricks to clinch the bronze.
Though each of the 12-man field got three chances to impress the judges on South Korea's innovative slopestyle course, Bråten really only needed one, stomping his first run, and bringing the packed crowd to its feet early.
His run featured a left-side double cork 1260 (two flips and three and a half spins), a switch right-side double cork 1440 (two flips and four spins, while taking off backwards), and a switch left-side double cork 1440 to earn a 95-point nod of approval. It’s an Olympic gold that comes on the heels of an X Games Silver in the same event last month.
In what became a tough day for the favored Americans, Goepper was the bright spot, winning Silver and his second Olympic medal in as many tries, and becoming the only repeat medalist in men's Olympic slopestyle ski history.
His third run was almost good enough to dethrone the Norwegian, but his massive switch right-side triple cork 1440 with a mute and japan grab (three flips and four spins, while taking off backwards), fell just short of the top spot.
Gus Kenworthy, the 2014 Sochi Games silver medalist, was also representing the stars and stripes in the final, but couldn't land a complete run in the final stage, a disappointing finish for the man who has dominated slopestyle since the last Olympic go-around.
Americans Alex Hall and McCrae Williams were unable to qualify for the final. They are two of a legendary field that were forced to watch the medal round action from the frozen sidelines. Medal favorite Henrik Harlaut from Sweden also missed the cut, as did Australia's Russ Henshaw. Joss Christensen, the 2014 Olympic gold medalist in this event didn't even make the U.S. squad for the 2018 edition.
Shakeups like these have become commonplace in men's slopestyle skiing, a field laden with talent that can produce a different champion for every day of the week. On this day, that top spot belongs to 22-year-old Bråten, the 2018 PyeongChang Olympic slopestyle skiing gold medalist.
More 2018 Winter Olympics Coverage from ASN