Five-ring Circus

Kyle Mack Won Big Air Silver With a “Bloody Dracula.” What’s a Bloody Dracula?

USA's silver medallist Kyle Mack poses on the podium during the medal ceremony for the snowboard men's big air at the Pyeongchang Medals Plaza during the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang on February 24, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / Martin BERNETTI        (Photo credit should read MARTIN BERNETTI/AFP/Getty Images)
Kyle Mack, post-Bloody Dracula.
MARTIN BERNETTI/Getty Images

U.S. snowboarder Kyle Mack did more than just win a silver medal at the Olympics’ inaugural big air event on Friday. He also introduced the viewing audience to the best adjective-proper noun combo in all of sports. Behold, the “Bloody Dracula.”

This daring trick involves grabbing the tail of the snowboard behind your back with both hands. Mack pulled off a frontside 1440 variant, meaning he spun around four full times while airborne. It was a touching tribute to Bela Lugosi, who sadly died before he ever got a chance to attempt the move.

Unlike the Thrifty Frankenstein or the Bashful Hamburglar, the Bloody Dracula is a trick that actually exists. The “bloody” in the grab’s name refers to its potentially gory outcome. Because the nose of the board is pointed straight down, the rider risks digging it into the snow and face-planting should he duff the landing. Mack nailed it, however, and earned a score of 86.75 from the judges.

In big air, each competitor completes three jumps, and the final result is determined by combining his top two scores. On his first attempt, Mack landed a backside triple-cork 1440 with a Japan grab. It’s a safer and more staid trick, as evidenced by the fact that it is named after a country and not a monster. As such, the American earned a middling score of 82. To medal, Mack needed to pull off something extra special.

Mack had tried the Bloody Dracula in practice but had fallen each time. (“I’m pretty sore,” he said after the event.) Nonetheless, he went for broke on the biggest possible stage, and he now has a silver medal to show for it.

Canada’s Sebastien Toutant won gold, and you’re probably wondering what he did to overshadow something named after a blood-drenched vampire. Toutant pulled off two 1620s in the event, and the extra rotations were enough to eclipse Mack’s stylish and unique grab. (According to the Washington Post, Mack doesn’t have a 1620 in his bag of tricks, so he was at a relative disadvantage going into big air.)

Even though he missed out on gold, Mack gave us one of the coolest moments of the Olympics. Plus, he didn’t die while doing the Bloody Dracula, which is its own reward.

Read the rest of Slate’s coverage of the Pyeongchang Olympics.

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