PYEONGCHANG, South Korea (Reuters) – Sebastien Toutant soothed Canada’s wounded pride by winning the first Olympic men’s snowboarding big air gold medal on Saturday, taking the title with a combined score of 174.25 from his two best runs in the Pyeongchang Winter Games final.
American Kyle Mack, cheered on by U.S. President Donald Trump’s daughter Ivanka, took the silver with 168.75 points, while Britain’s Billy Morgan won the bronze with 168.00.
Trump, a senior White House adviser, is in South Korea to lead the U.S. delegation to the closing ceremony of the Winter Olympics. She met with South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Friday.
The 25-year-old Toutant collected his first Olympic medal with the victory after finishing 11th in the snowboarding slopestyle event. He also competed in the slopestyle in Sochi four years ago but did not make the podium.
The gold will come as some welcome good news for Canadian sports fans, who are mourning a string of defeats in ice hockey and curling, sports they traditionally dominate at the Olympics.
New Zealander Carlos Garcia Knight, who topped the qualifying competition, failed to deliver in the final and finished a disappointing 11th of 12 riders.
The big air event was making its Olympic debut in South Korea, with Austrian Anna Gasser winning the women’s gold medal on Thursday.
Reporting by Peter Rutherford; Editing by Greg Stutchbury