Canada's Olivia Asselin withdraws from freeski slopestyle final as Switzerland's Gremaud wins gold
U.S.-born Gu claims silver for China; Sildaru wins Estonia's 1st Olympic freeski medal
Switzerland's Mathilde Gremaud captured gold in the women's freeski slopestyle final on Tuesday at the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games.
Gremaud, who won slopestyle silver four years ago in Pyeongchang, topped the podium this time around with 86.56 points. It is her second medal at these Games after capturing big air bronze.
U.S.-born superstar Eileen Gu won silver for China (86.23) for her second medal in Beijing, while Kelly Sildaru claimed bronze (82.06) for Estonia's first-ever Olympic medal in freestyle skiing.
Despite her previous Olympic success, Gremaud's victory was unexpected after she only managed to secure the 12th and final qualifying spot yesterday.
"It was definitely a crazy day yesterday, I barely made it to finals. But today it was a new day, I woke up with good energy, positivity. And I was excited to ski," Gremaud said.
"I now have a complete set of the three medals. That's really, really exciting. And I'm really stoked. It's just insane."
WATCH | Switzerland's Gremaud adds to medal haul with slopestyle gold:
Canada's Olivia Asselin withdrew after her opening run due to injury and mental fatigue. Competing at her first Olympics, the 17-year-old looked uncomfortable while earning just 16.83 points.
"We're being told that it's a combination of things at play for her. A knee injury has flared up, and she also said that she was feeling very mentally drained heading into the final," said CBC's Ali Chiasson.
"There were gruelling long training days. The weather has been difficult, there was the weather postponement that she had to deal with. She's just 17 years old. All of this can be kind of overwhelming, so that just added to the stress."
Asselin was consoled by her coach following her run.
WATCH | Asselin bows out of freeski slopestyle final:
The Quebec City native finished 11th in qualifying and was the lone Canadian in the final after fellow Olympic newcomer Megan Oldham failed to advance.
Gu, who was born and raised in San Francisco, has faced backlash for her decision to represent her mother's home country of China.
That backlash only increased after the 18-year-old Olympic rookie won the inaugural women's big air final in Beijing by becoming the second female skier to ever land a double 1620 in competition.
WATCH | Gu captures big air gold for China with double 1620:
'My biggest goal is to inspire young girls'
But Gu has remained focused on her Olympic mission, with the goal of inspiring young girls across the world.
"My biggest goal is to inspire young girls in China and worldwide to have interactions with the sport, to be able to try skiing. It's such a niche sport, people haven't heard of it," Gu said.
She is also the reigning slopestyle and halfpipe world champion, and will look to become the first action-sports athlete to win three medals at the same Winter Games when the halfpipe competition gets underway on Wednesday at 8:30 p.m. ET.
"My goal coming into this Olympics was to win one gold, and have one more podium in a different event, so I've already met that goal and I'm going into my strongest event," Gu said.
Eleven skiers competed for a spot on the slopestyle podium at Genting Snow Park, with the best score of three runs determining the champion.
Sildaru, a 10-time X Games medallist, was momentarily in top spot after she landed a switch 900 on the final jump of her first run, but Gremaud bumped her down to second place with her second run that ultimately won gold.
Gu was under pressure after entering her final run with a best score of 69.90, but she delivered a clean run that included a double cork 1080 and a Buick grab to claim silver and knock Sildaru down to third.
"I was feeling a little bit tired. So I did my first and second run, I almost felt like I wasn't fully in it, I wasn't in the zone, I wasn't feeling that rush, that excitement," Gu said.
"I felt almost too calm which sometimes doesn't work out to the best. I'm one of those people that kind of needs that pressure."
WATCH | Replay of women's freeski slopestyle final: