Watch Canada's Evan McEachran compete for gold in men's freeski big air final at Beijing Olympics

Canada's Evan McEachran placed ninth in the Olympic debut of men's big air skiing on Wednesday in Beijing.

After sitting in second following a triple cork that led to a 93-point first run, the Oakville, Ont., native was unable to land either of his next two jumps, dashing any hopes of landing on the podium.

Norway's Birk Ruud won gold with a combined best score of 187.75. American Colby Stevenson took silver at 183, while Sweden's Henrik Harlaut rounded out the podium with a score of 181.

Each athlete is given three jumps, with the best two combined scores determining their final total.

Ruud achieved his score in just two runs. As the final skier and with the gold medal already clinched, he took a victory run with the Norwegian flag in hand and still landed a no-pressure bio 1440 for his final trick. He wrapped the flag around himself at the bottom of the hill at the Big Air Shougang venue — a shuttered steel mill that now hosts the world's only permanent big air jump.

McEachran, 24, will also compete in ski slopestyle, which begins on Feb. 13. The Canadian placed sixth in the event at the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics.

He qualified for big air in 11th on Monday after finishing fifth at the 2021 world championships.

Reigning world champion Oliwer Magnusson of Sweden, who is back for his second Olympics, narrowly missed the podium in fourth.

China's Eileen Gu, who was born in the U.S., won the first ski big air gold medal a day earlier, with Canadian Megan Oldham narrowly missing the podium in fourth place.

The big air competition was held at the world's first permanent, city-based big air facility, a repurposed steel mill on the west side of Beijing that's made a stunning backdrop for one of the Games' newest sports.

The 200-foot big air structure was built on the site of the former Shougang Group steel mill, China's first state-owned plant that helped the country become a world leader in steel production. Its billowing smokestacks provided work for thousands but also darkened the sky over Beijing's Shijingshan District, contributing to the city's air pollution problem.

Ruud soars past the steel mill in his final run with flag in hand. (Evgenia Novozhenina/Reuters)

China closed the factory in conjunction with the 2008 Summer Games, seeking to clean up its image, as well as its air.

Rusting factories and machinery remain, but the space between has been filled by grassy lawns, glassy ponds and a good deal of greenery.

It's central to China's efforts to encourage 300 million people to participate in winter sports in conjunction with these Games. Facilities were carved into the complex's infrastructure to help Chinese athletes train in short track speed skating, figure skating, ice hockey and curling. The Beijing Organizing Committee is even based out of the park's offices.

WATCH l Full replay of men's ski big air final:

Freestyle Skiing - Men's Freeski Big Air Final

3 hours ago

Duration 1:36:58

Watch Day 5 Men's Freestyle Skiing action at the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022. 1:36:58

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