Taylor Gold competes at the Toyota U.S. Grand Prix Copper Mountain on Dec. 9, 2021 in Copper Mountain, Colorado.
COPPER MOUNTAIN, Colo. – Team USA might not have made the podium during the snowboard halfpipe finals at the Toyota U.S. Grand Prix – Copper Mountain, but 2014 Olympian Taylor Gold made the most out of it.
The Steamboat Springs, Colorado, native began his campaign to qualify for the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 after finishing fifth at Copper Mountain on Saturday.
Gold scored an impressive 87.00 in his second run, executing the McTwist – an inverted 540 mute grab – followed by a frontside 1260 tail grab and double Michaelchuk 1080. He concluded the run with a switch-side 1080 before coming into the corral.
This placed him only 0.75 of a point behind eventual third-place finisher Yuto Totsuka (87.75) from Japan. Totsuka’s teammate, Ruka Hirano, claimed gold with an 89.25. Switzerland’s two-time Olympian, Jan Scherrer, followed in second with an 88.50.
Gold rebounded from his first run, however, where he landed harshly on the ground, earning him a 3.00. He also earned a 20.50 after falling again in the final round.
Fortunately for Gold, the best run landed him in the top-half of the 10-man international field.
“[Today] was a great performance,” the 28-year-old veteran told Team USA. “I was very happy with that. That was the run I wanted to do coming into today. After slamming on my first run, it was really nice to land that second one.”
While Gold was the highest scoring American on Saturday, 2018 Olympian Chase Josey and three-time Olympic gold medalist Shaun White also competed in the finals, finishing sixth (85.25) and eighth (75.50), respectively.