Beijing, China (25 November 2017) – With just over two months to go until the 2018 Olympic Winter Games get underway in PyeongChang, South Korea, snowboarder Tiarn Collins (17, Queenstown) has secured a career-best result with a second-place finish at the Air+Style Big Air World Cup held in Beijing, China. Collins was named to the New Zealand Olympic team last month to compete in Snowboard Big Air and Slopestyle.
Collins signalled he was on track for a strong result during Friday’s qualifying rounds where he earned the top score against a strong and deep international field. The Air + Style event, owned by professional snowboarder Shaun White, typically attracts a star-studded line up and this year, for the first time, the well-respected event series was sanctioned as FIS Snowboard World Cup, also giving riders opportunity to earn Olympic qualifying points.
Competition took place on a massive scaffolding ramp constructed in the Worker’s Stadium in the Chinese Capital with riders given two runs to land their best trick and make the cut for finals.
“This was the first competition of the season for me and my main goal for this event was to land a backside triple cork in the competition,” explains Collins. “I really wanted to do this trick because I had never done it in a competition and I felt since the Air + Style is such an iconic event it would be the perfect place to do it. So, I was super stoked to have just landed the trick, and then when I saw the score and my placing it was an amazing feeling.”
Saturday’s 10-man finals were run in a best two out of three run format with Collins maintaining his strong form and landing a backside 1440 mute and cab 1440 double nose grab.
"Finals went even better then I could have ever asked for," said Collins. "My goals for finals were to put down another backside triple cork first run and then try the cab double 1260 with double tail. It's a trick I've been thinking about in my head for a while and I was stoked to put it down. After I had landed my first two runs I made the decision to try the cab 1440 with double tail and ended up landing that as well and jumping up into second place! It was a crazy feeling dropping for my last run because I found out I was on the podium no matter what, and then to jump up into second place was insane. It was a dream come true standing on the podium with Mark and Torgeir."
2014 Olympic Slopestyle Bronze medallist Mark McMorris (CAN) claimed the win with Torgeir Bergrem (NOR) in third. Watch the highlights below.
NZ’s Carlos Garcia Knight finished 15th while Natalie Good (Cambridge) and Christy Prior (Kaukapakapa) finished 10th and 15th respectively in the women’s field. Prior and Good will now head to Germany to compete in another Big Air World Cup in Moenchengladbach on 2 December. Collins and Garcia Knight will stay on in China to compete in a Slopestyle event next week.
Meanwhile, New Zealand freeskier Jackson Wells is also preparing to compete in the Slopestyle World Cup in Stubai, Austria. Wells finished fourth in his heat in Friday’s qualifying rounds to secure his spot in the 16-man final being held tonight 11.15pm NZT.
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