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Red Gerard Narrowly Misses Out On The Podium In Olympic Slopestyle Finals

by Justin Limoges

Red Gerard competes during the men's snowboard slopestyle finals at the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 on Feb, 7, 2022 in Zhangjiakou, China.


ZHANGJIAKOU, China – More experienced and prepared this time around, U.S. snowboarder Red Gerard came into the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 with the main mission of defending his 2018 Olympic gold medal. 
It was not to be. 
The Silverthorne, Colorado, native was in bronze-medal contention towards the end of the third and final round in the snowboard slopestyle finals on a surprisingly “warm” and sunny day at Genting Snow Park. Gerard fell during that run, however, basing his final score on his first-round run where he scored 83.25, featuring a pair of 1620s.



“I’m feeling good because I’m happy that I landed my first run,” the 21-year-old said. “Not ideally how I wanted to go. … That’s just the way it goes sometimes, and you just take it and put on a smile. There’s going to be another contest soon probably, so just go from there.”

2018 Olympic bronze medalist Mark McMorris from Canada edged Gerard out of medal contention after scoring an 88.53 to close out the final round. Fellow Canadian and 2018 Olympic silver medalist Max Parrot won gold, scoring 90.96. China’s young superstar Su Yiming, 17, took silver following his technical run that earned him 88.70. 

Gerard, the defending Olympic champion, still believed he hit one of his best runs in competition yet.

“Fourth never feels good. You’re one off from being cool,” Gerard said. “I haven’t really fully put it together yet. I’m just happy that I landed a run, and I’m really happy with the run, probably the best I’ve ever done. Just taking the good out of it. All in all, I’ll take a fourth place.

“As a kid, I used to be so happy with that expectation just going a little higher. So, you’re going to have to be happy with where I’m at with snowboarding and representing USA is incredible. Being here with some of my best friends and my teammates in insane.”

Chris Corning competes during the men's snowboard slopestyle finals at the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 on Feb, 7, 2022 in Zhangjiakou, China.


Team USA’s Sean FitzSimons and Chris Corning also competed in the 12-man field, finishing sixth (65.11) and 12th (29.61), respectively. FitzSimons, who finished third in qualifiers, failed to land a successful run in all three rounds (29.48, 29.61, 26.61).
“I mean it’s a huge confidence boost to make the Olympics and then make the Olympic final,” the 2022 Laax Open champion said. “It’s definitely something I dreamed about doing. Definitely wish I could have put something down today. I’m stoked with being here and how I did.”
Aside from not landing in the Olympic finals Monday, the Hood River, Oregon, native believes that this will only push him to compete even harder and hopefully return to the Olympic Winter Games Milano Cortina 2026. 
“I think this is good for motivation to get back to it and start working harder to hopefully make something happen and have a better showing next time if I make it,” FitzSimons said.
Corning, who finished ninth in PyeongChang 2018 in slopestyle and fourth in big air, was looking to make the next step at his second Olympic Games, and he did. While he may not have made the podium, the 24-year-old rider competed in his first slopestyle Olympic final.
“I’m super happy; I didn’t make finals last time [in 2018], so this is tenfold better than what I did last time,” the Arvada, Colorado, native said. “I’m super stoked. I didn’t land a run for the first two runs, so to be able to put it down under pressure [in the third], I was super happy about because I was definitely struggling.”
The U.S. men’s team, including Dusty Henricksen, who missed the finals and finished 17th, will still have the chance to earn some Olympic hardware as they look to now compete in the big air competition in Beijing. Big air qualifiers commence next Monday at 12:30 a.m. ET.

Justin Limoges is a 2020 sports communication graduate from Bradley University, originating from Newport, Vermont. He is a digital media assistant for Team USA.