Snowboard Slopestyle makes exciting debut on an Olympic programme
The final of Snowboard Slopestyle was a fittingly thrilling affair for an event making its debut on an Olympic programme – it will next be seen at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games. Until the very last moment it seemed that Halfpipe Gold medallist Ben Ferguson (USA) was going to take home his second Gold of the Innsbruck 2012 Winter Youth Olympics, this time in Men's Snowboard Slopestyle.
Then, on the very last kicker, Michael Ciccarelli (CAN) stomped a huge backside 1080 double-cork in what was the most remarkable air of the day.
The glorious finish gave Michael the Gold medal on Thursday with a score of 94.25 points, ahead of Ben, who claimed Silver with 90.25 and David Habluetzel (SUI), who bagged Bronze with 87.50.
"I had nothing to lose, I just decided to go for it," Michael said. "It turned out good though, yeah?"
Michael was the top qualifier and therefore had the last run of the day. When Ben notched an 87.50 for his second run, Michael knew he had to push his limits to beat Ben's total to take Gold.
Michael cranked up the volume on his headphones, pushed out of the starting area, and laid down the best run of a hotly-contested competition.
Six competitors scored above 80, and a cluster of scores in the mid-80s filled out the top five.
David's 87.50 was followed by Jan Kralj's (SLO) 85.25, Max Raymer's (USA) 85.00, and Tyler Nicholson's (CAN) 84.00.
Ben and Michael pulled away from the pack by throwing 900s and 1080s that were out of reach for the other riders.
"He's awesome, that was sick for sure," Ben said of Michael's final 1080 air.
Ben, who revealed many of the Innsbruck 2012 competitors are close friends because of the time they spend together taking part in junior competitions, cheered for Michael in the finish area.