The women's snowboard slopestyle competition was supposed to be a battle between American Jamie Anderson, who was seeking her third straight gold medal in the event, and New Zealand's Zoi Sadowski-Synnott, the reigning world champion. Instead, it became a battle between Sadowski-Synnott and a different American.
Team USA's Julia Marino led the competition with all of the big names in the sport taking their final runs. She survived Anderson's third and final run when the two-time champion fell on the first of three jumps. Sadowski-Synnott, 20, was the last competitor to hit the course.
But Sadowski-Synnott, standing in second entering her final run, threw down a 92.88 in her final run to take the gold. Marino settled for silver.
Tess Coady, of Australia, finished in bronze.
Marino stomped her second run, with a score of 87.68, which included two 900s and a 1080. The silver was America's first medal in Beijing.
The 24-year-old from Westport, Connecticut, was making her second Olympic appearance, following an 11th place finish in Pyeongchang.
Sadowski-Synnott's gold was the first for New Zealand in the country's Winter Olympics history.
Anderson fell early on her first run in the top rail section and then botched a trick -- opting for a quarterpipe none of the other competitors were using -- in her second run. Anderson fell in her third run on the first of the three jumps as well.
Sadowski-Synnott has pushed past Anderson is recent competitions, including last month's X Games, when she took gold over Anderson in both slopestyle and big air. The two will face off again in big air on Feb. 14.
Anderson took silver in big air four years ago, while Sadowski Synnott, just 16 at the time, got bronze. Anna Gasser, the Austrian gold medalist from Pyeongchang, will also be in Beijing.
Anderson would've tied a record for the most consecutive Winter Olympics gold medals in the same individual event. The feat has been accomplished several times, but speedskater Bonnie Blair is the only American to ever win three straight golds in the same event.
The other American in the final, Hailey Langland, finished 10th.
The 31-year-old Anderson, who has dominated the slopestyle scene for more than a decade. She has won eight golds at the X Games and has won more total medals than any other woman in X Games history.
She has not said whether she plans to make a bid for the 2026 Games.
American halfpipe skier David Wise still has a chance to win three straight golds later in the Games.