Gasser, 30, stomped three clean tricks in the contest, including a cab double cork 1260 on her final attempt, to claim the win.
Sadowski-Synnott, who fell on her own 1260 attempt, took silver, and Japan’s Kokomo Murase earned bronze.
In big air, riders are given three runs to land a trick, and their best two scores get added together. Riders, however, are required land two distinctly different tricks in order for those scores to count.
Most of the contenders appeared to come into the contest with a similar strategy: put down a pair of clean runs — typically a frontside double cork 1080 and a backside double cork 1080 — to start the contest, then go for broke on the third and final attempt.
At the end of two runs, four riders — Sadowski-Synott, Gasser, Murase and Reira Iwabuchi — had successfully put down 1080s in both directions and were separated at the top of the leaderboard by just 11 points, setting up a dramatic sequence to end the contest.
The action started with Iwabuchi going for a triple but being unable to land it. Murase also came up short on her final trick, which brought the battle down to Gasser and Sadowski-Synnott.
That’s when Gasser dropped in and did the cab double cork 1260, earning her the highest single-trick score of the contest and putting her into the lead above Sadowski-Synnott.
Sadowski-Synnott, the 20-year-old from New Zealand, tried to respond with a backside double cork 1260 but was unable land the trick, clinching the win for Gasser.
Throughout her storied career, Gasser has been the first woman to land a number of tricks, including the cab double cork 1260. She was the only rider to land any variation of a 1260 cleanly in this contest, though there had been talk beforehand that she could attempt a triple. Instead, Gasser opted for a 1260, while Iwabuchi was the only rider to try a triple.
With the win, Gasser has become the third snowboarder to defend their Olympic gold medal at these Games, joining Chloe Kim (women’s halfpipe) and Ester Ledecka (women’s parallel giant slalom) in that feat. Meanwhile, Sadowski-Synnott has now completed the trifecta of Olympic medals after winning big air bronze in 2018 and slopestyle gold earlier this month.
Results: Women’s Snowboard Big Air
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