United States snowboarder Red Gerard launches off the kicker in the first run of the second heat of the men's slopestyle event on day one of the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics Saturday at Phoenix Snow Park in Pyeongchang, South Korea. Photo by Matthew Healey/UPI | License Photo
Feb. 10 (UPI) -- Snowboarder Red Gerard was the only American to qualify in the men's slopestyle event Saturday in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
The event was full of crashes, but the 17-year-old managed to stay on his board in order to make it into Sunday's final. A win would make him the youngest American to ever win a medal in snowboarding at the Winter Games.
"It was really nice," Gerard told NBC after the event. "The leading up the 2 days before I was kinda lost on the course and yesterday I finally started to find myself on it. Its a pretty fun course. It's really creative."
Fellow American Kyle Mack did not qualify for the final, finishing in 11th place. Mack took a spill on his final jump and was eliminated from contention.
"I didn't get the quick take-off," Mack told NBC. "I just kinda lost it a little bit. I still tried to save it but just couldn't get my feet back under me, which is kind of a bummer. I just went down kinda hard it looked like, but it didn't really hurt. It was just a bummer."
But Sweden's Mans Hedberg took the scariest fall during the event.
Hedberg shot up off of a ramp for a jump during the event and landed unevenly on his board. He did a few flips down the icy hill and his body appeared to go limp during the crash. He was able to walk off the course with assistance, but did not take a second run in the qualifier.
Medal favorites Max Parrott and Mark McMorris of Canada led all qualifiers with scores of 87.36 and 86.38, respectively.
Mack and Gerard will also compete in the big air event, which begins on Feb. 21.