Sebastien Toutant won the Olympic title in his event’s debut Saturday to give Canada it’s 500th medal in all Winter and Summer Games.
Toutant, from L’Assomption, Que., won gold in men’s snowboard big air, outperforming Canadian medal favourites Max Parrot and Mark McMorris at Pheonix Park.
Toutant scored 84.75 points on his first run and 89.50 on his second for a combined 174.25 points. He didn’t land his final run, but he didn’t need to — the top two scores of a rider’s three runs make up their final score.
“It’s such a big day for snowboarding because we got to show at such a high scale what it’s all about,” Toutant said. “I’m just happy to be that guy, that day, who won it.”
Kyle Mack of the United States won silver with 168.75 points and Britain’s Billy Morgan took bronze with 168.00.
Parrot of Bromont, Que., who won silver in slopestyle last week, finished ninth while Regina’s McMorris, the slopestyle bronze medallist, was 10th after struggling to land his first two jumps.
Toutant hadn’t won a World Cup in big air since 2011 in Stoneham, Que. He finished the World Cup season ranked 10th.
McMorris was competing in Pyeongchang less than a year after suffering a series of gruesome, life-threatening injuries in a back-country crash in B.C.
“It was so frustrating. This is what I was most looking forward to but it didn’t go my way today,” the 24-year-old said.
In other snowboarding competition, Canada was shut out of a medal in parallel giant slalom.
Jasey-Jay Anderson of Mont-Tremblant, Que., finished 24th in the 32-man field in one minute 26.76 seconds while Darren Gardner of Burlington, Ont., was 28th in 1:26.94. The top 16 competitors advanced to the afternoon elimination rounds.
The 42-year-old Anderson, who won a World Cup event a month ago, is the only Canadian to compete in six different Winter Olympics. He won gold at the Vancouver Games.
Justin Kripps, from Summerland, B.C., and his four-man bobsled of Alex Kpacz of London, Ont., Jesse Lumsden of Burlington, Ont., and Ottawa’s Seyi Smith sit just off podium position in fourth place after the first two heats. The final four heats were scheduled for Sunday.
“I’m super proud of the boys, pumping off some huge starts,” said Kripps. “We just got to find a bit more speed down the bottom and we’ll move up tomorrow.”
Hamilton’s Nick Poloniato and his crew were 13th while Chris Spring of Priddis, Alta., was 15th.