Stevenson Silver In Big Air Finals
In Wednesday's big air final, 24-year-old Colby Stevenson earned a career-first Olympic medal in the inaugural Olympic big air competition. Stevenson donned silver behind Norway's Birk Ruud, named the competition's "the man to beat." Sweden's Henrik Harlaut took the bronze.
Stevenson said that as he was clicking into his skis, getting read for his third hit, he was still deciding what trick he wanted to do. Go big for a switch 19, or play a bit safer and go for a switch 18 and just try to hold the grab for as long as he could. He went with the switch 18, a decision he later called smart, as it allowed him to focus on getting the trick done and not overthinking the global platform he is competing on.
Stevenson has learned a lot about the value of focus and staying present in the current moment, something that he says helps him ski his best. After surviving a skull-shattering car crash at the age of 18 that threatened his ability to function on a day-to-day, Stevenson's outlook on life shifted, which some would say has positively contributed to his skiing.
"That in itself was a miracle, surviving the car crash, so each day I focus on the little things in life and that helps me stay in the moment and be grateful," he said. "Out here today, I had the same kind of mentality, just focusing on the beauty of where we (are), being with friends, such an amazing venue, it helps you ski your best when all these outside things aren't clouding your thoughts. It's important to focus on what you do have and the things you're grateful for, and that's how you're going to do your best."
"That first trick he did, he had never done that before, he just threw it all out in the comp and laid that last jump out too which was just so epic," said his teammate Alex Hall. "Deservedly got second and skied so well I couldn't be more stoked for him."
Hall, who was also a medal favorite, threw it all out in the comp just like his teammate. On the third jump, Hall found himself in a similar position as Stevenson, play it safe or go big. So he went big.
Hall threw a 2160, the hardest trick he has, one that earned him the X Games gold in January and put him in the history books as the first man to ever land the trick in competition. Unfortunately for Hall, he wasn't able to repeat his X Games victory in Beijing, but he remained in good spirits saying "I'm just hyped to try and give it all I got. Sometimes things just don't go your way, and it's all good."
Hall finished the comp in 8th. Mac Forehand finished 11th in his Olympic debut.
Next the U.S. men's freeski team heads to Genting Snow Park in Zhangjiakou to compete in men's freeski slopestyle on Feb. 13.
Men's big air final