BEIJING (Reuters) -New Zealand snowboarder Zoi Sadowski-Synnott topped the Big Air qualifier event on Monday, while U.S. athlete Jamie Anderson’s quest for Games glory at Beijing ended early after the two-time Olympic gold medallist failed to qualify for the finals.
Sadowski-Synnott extended her dominant performance in Beijing by delivering the best single score of 91.00 with a stellar frontside double cork 1080 in her third run, drawing cheers from the crowd in the Shougang venue that was showered with some fresh snow the day before.
The 20-year-old snowboarder said she had to reset before coming to the qualifier after her historic win in slopestyle, when she fetched New Zealand’s first gold medal in any Winter Olympics.
“Honestly it hasn’t really sunk in yet,” she said. “I just want to come in and try to snowboard to my best and put down my best tricks and hope to do well.”
Beijing hasn’t been as easy for Anderson, who failed to land her signature trick, cab double underflip, in her first two runs in the qualifier.
Despite a stellar third run, a 1080 spin that gave her 89.75, she fell short of qualifying, ranking 15th with a total score of 119.75.
“Oh gosh, honestly heartbroken,” Anderson said after the competition.
One of the most decorated snowboarders in the world, her third Olympics has been a disappointing one. She failed to retain her gold medal in the women’s slopestyle competition, finishing ninth and missing out on the history-making opportunity.
“I really wish I could hold it together today. I really wanted to try to get a medal especially after slopestyle, but gotta just take it for what’s to learn from the experience,” Anderson told reporters.
At 31, Anderson said she is not retiring right now but wanted to take some time off for herself after the Olympics.
“It’s been a long journey for me. I’m gonna definitely just take a little time and go free ride somehow. And then reset and see what I feel,” said Anderson.
Julia Marino, who won America’s first medal in Beijing, didn’t compete in Monday’s qualifier.
Defending Olympics champion Anna Gasser and three Japanese snowboarders, Miyabi Onitsuka and Reira Iwabuchi and Kokomo Murase were among the contenders who made it into the finals on Tuesday.
(Reporting by Krystal Hu in BeijingEditng by Robert Birsel & Shri Navaratnam)