A week ago, Chris Corning didn’t let a hip injury sustained in practice keep him from finishing second at the Toyota U.S. Grand Prix big air snowboarding event at Copper Mountain in Colorado.
On Saturday, at the men’s slopestyle snowboarding final down the road in Breckenridge, he officially earned his place at the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 as the top American on the slopestyle podium with a second-place finish.
Corning will make his Olympic debut in the Olympic debut of big air, and will also compete in slopestyle.
The 18-year-old from Silverthorne, Colorado, has high expectations on him as the reigning world silver medalist in big air and bronze medalist in slopestyle.
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He finished 10th in qualifying this week with three U.S. athletes ahead of him, including fellow Silverthorne teenager Red Gerard, who was in second and himself could have qualified for the Olympic team if he was the top American on the podium.
But it was Corning who used a stellar second run — with an excellent score of 95.00, two points behind first place finisher Max Parrot's 97.00 — and walked away with a spot on the 2018 U.S. Olympic Team. Mons Roisland of Norway rounded out the podium in third with 92.00, while Gerard was fourth with 91.00.
This was the third of five U.S. Olympic qualification events for the combined big air/slopestyle team (only one of which is big air), and Corning was 37th at the first slopestyle one last season at Mammoth Mountain in California. He was the overall world cup slopestyle title holder in 2016 and won both the world junior championship slopestyle and big air titles that same year.