USA's Jamie Anderson took gold in the inaugural women's snowboarding slopestyle event, leading to a complete US sweep after Sage Kotsenburg captured gold on the men's side Saturday.
Finland's Enni Rukajarvi placed in the silver position after two runs on the slopes and Great Britain's Jenny Jones took bronze.
Jones, who has taken her first-ever Olympic medal, earned her country's first 2014 Winter Olympic medal in an event that had twists, turns and plenty of tumbles at every slope.
Ollie Williams of Frontier Sports, reporting on the Games for the BBC, capped his feelings as Jones picked up bronze, tweeting:
SLOPESTYLE BRONZE: Jenny Jones becomes Britain's first ever Olympic medallist on snow. Jamie Anderson gold, Enni Rukajarvi silver. Wow.— Ollie Williams (@OllieW) February 9, 2014
|Rank||Competitor (Country)||Run 1 Score||Run 2 Score||Best Score|
|1||Jamie Anderson (USA)||80.75||95.25||95.25|
|2||Enni Rukajarvi (Finland)||73.75||92.50||92.50|
|3||Jenny Jones (Great Britain)||73.00||87.25||87.25|
|4||Sina Candrian (Switzerland)||7.25||87.00||87.00|
|5||Sarka Pancochova (Czech Republic)||86.25||20.00||86.25|
|6||Karly Shorr (USA)||39.00||75.00||75.00|
|7||Torah Bright (Australia)||64.75||66.25||66.25|
|8||Isabel Derungs (Switzerland)||58.50||15.25||58.50|
|9||Elena Koenz (Switzerland)||24.50||54.50||54.50|
|10||Anna Gasser (Austria)||49.00||51.75||51.75|
|11||Silje Norendal (Norway)||49.50||32.00||49.50|
|12||Spencer O'Brien (Canada)||30.00||35.00||35.00|
The first run proved fruitful for Czech Republic's Sarka Pancochova, who sat at the top of the rankings after her first-run score of 86.25. USA's Jamie Anderson continued her fine form as well with a score of 80.75, leapfrogging Switzerland's Sina Candrian and Rukajarvi in third and fourth, respectively.
Jones scored 73.00 on her first run, which was a solid score from the 33-year-old. Francis Keogh of BBC tweeted of Jones' chances to make history for her country on snow in the Winter Olympics:
Elena Koenz of Switzerland was left to languish at the bottom of the table with 24.50. A tumble cost her a chance at the upper echelons of the grid after the first run, along with Canadian Spencer O'Brien and USA's Karly Shorr, who made up the bottom three.
Norway's Silje Norendal began the final run with a score of 32.00, which held her position in the middle of the final ladder and out of challenging position for any medals. Jones followed, whose run showed pace and passion as she looked to breach the top five.
Her mammoth score of 87.25 sparked jubilant celebrations from Jones and her onlooking British fans. Her tally looked to place her with at least a bronze medal at the end of the event but also within reach of taking the top spot.
Candrian looked to have grabbed her board on two occasions to seal a big score but was awarded just 87.00, keeping Jones at the summit of the leaderboard with the chasing pack all yet to run.
Drama unfolded as Sarka Pancochova barrel-rolled down the slopes causing fear among commentators that the catapult of snow had left her with a concussion. Thankfully, she rose to her feet to walk from the track.
CBC Olympics correspondent Kate Pettersen captured the moment of Pancochova's fall, noting the importance of wearing headgear in this event:
Scary moment there for Sarka Pancochova who crashes hard on first jump. Rides down under her own power. Helmet cracked in half. #CBCOlympics— Kate Pettersen (@KatePettersen_) February 9, 2014
The fall ended any chance of reclaiming the top spot for Sarka, who was awarded just 20.00 by the judges.
Thankfully, her health was still intact:
The top spot then had a new occupant, following Rukajarvi's second run, as she scored a 92.50 to push Jones and Candrian back into second and third, respectively. It ended Pancochova's slim hopes of leaving this event with a medal.
USA's Karly Shorr returned to the slopes with two grabs and perfectly executed landings, showing her air of confidence in the new format. However, she only scored 75.00, leaving her 10 points short of a medal berth.
O'Brien's second run proved as unhelpful as her first, scoring 35.00 to keep her at the foot of the table, with last-placed Koenz returning to the slopes to find 54.50.
Norway's Norendal then failed to improve on her opening score of 49.50, leaving her also to be content with a midtable finish as four competitors remained.
Then came a second run for Australia's Torah Bright, who improved on her opening score with 66.25 but ended her chances of a medal in this event.
Jamie Anderson landed a beautiful, technical run with aplomb as she looked to break into the top three, in a run that oozed experience and confidence from the offset. And with a tally of 95.25, Anderson had done enough to take the lead at the late stage in proceedings.
Jones still sat in third place, as Great Britain looked for their first-ever Winter Olympics medal. Meanwhile, Switzerland's Isabel Derungs hit 58.50, leaving her in the lower half of the final standings.
Williams provided a statement from Jones' teammate, Aimee Fuller, discussing the historical importance:
"Get your history books and record this moment. Our girl, Jenny Jones, has done it." - GB team-mate @aimee_fuller— Ollie Williams (@OllieW) February 9, 2014
With one ride to go from Austria's Anna Gasser, it looked likely that Anderson would take gold, and Jones would make her own history in Sochi. These feats were then realized as Gasser slipped onto her backside during the run.
Anderson's gold moves the United States up among the medal leaders in Sochi. While a majority of Team USA's medals are expected to come as the competition progresses rather than early on, the Americans have proven dominant in snowboarding thus far. Anderson joins Sage Kotsenburg to give the United States a slopestyle sweep, coming at least as somewhat of a surprise.
The Associated Press (via Yahoo! Sports) expected Anderson to take slopestyle for the women, while Canadian Max Parrot was favored on the men's side. But, at least in the interim, the United States has established itself as a force in Russia. Whether that continues going forward remains to be seen.