Even before the 2018 Olympic Games began, we knew that Sébastien Toutant, Empire rider and one of the top 10 snowboarders in the world, had good chances of winning a medal. But to say that this medal was going to be Golden... It must have been unreal!
Back to his daily routine, aka traveling around the world for snowboarding, we got a hold of Seb between two practice sessions at the US Open in Colorado to find out how it feels to be an Olympic gold medalist.
Ladies and gentlemen, Seb Toots.
What's up Seb! First things first, congratulations for your Olympic Games big air gold medal. It's insane!
Yeah, it really is! Let's say it ended the Games well for me. I was really hoping to get a medal in slopestyle and I got so close. I was a little disappointed, but eh, I tried to stay focused and later won Big Air. Useless to say, but I was very hyped.
Were you mentally ready to win a gold medal?
I don’t think it's possible to be mentally prepared for that kind of feeling. It’s overwhelming. Even though I know I have my big air moves on lock, I seriously thought that slopestyle was going to be where I would shine, but see, it's the big air that paid off.
You didn’t expect it at all?
Yes and no. I knew that I could position myself well and the goal of any Olympic athlete is to get a medal so you have to expect it in a way. You also have to remember that anything can happen at the Olympic Games. Basically, I tried to live every moment to the fullest. The rest just happened.
What was going on in your head when you were about to drop in for the jump that got you the gold medal?
I would say I was really focused. I was trying to stay in my bubble and forget the magnitude of the Olympics. I tried to approach it like if it was a regular contest. I had good practice sessions, felt pretty good and landed my two jumps back to back. I was definitely stoked on my performance.
Seems like you weren’t stressing at all?
Oh, no. I always have high amounts of stress before each contest, but it is part of the deal. It's good stress I guess. I try to stay calm and concentrate on my tricks.
Can you listen to music at the Olympics?
Yes, there are many people who have their headphones, but personally, I prefer not to. I love music, but when I'm riding, I feel that it prevents me from feeling my environment, I need to hear the sound of my board. I also find it a bit anti-social, I just prefer to chat with my boys. It motivates me more to cheers and get hyped with the crew.
You compete against some of your good friends including Max Parrot and Mark McMorris. Was there tension between you guys because of the Olympic Games magnitude?
Not at all. Snowboarding is cool on that aspect. There is a high level of camaraderie in this sport, it's like a big family. I am more stoked than anything to have my homies competing with me. Even if we all want to win, we are friends before being opponents. After the contest, we all hangout and party!
I actually wanted to ask you something about partying. Do people get hammered during the Olympics?
I would say the majority of the athletes try to stay on point as much as possible for their competitions, but when it's over, yes, you can party for sure. The only thing was that there was nothing going on at the athletes' village. Fortunately, Red Bull had set up a chilling zone for the duration of the Games. They had arcades in there, bowling alleys, restaurants, a bar, VIP areas and all that good stuff. That's where I was hanging out when I wasn’t riding.
On a more serious note, how long have you been preparing for these Olympics?
I'm already training for contests like X-Games or the Us Open and whatnot, so it doesn’t really change anything for me training wise. The contest circuit itself is a really good way to stay on point. Officially, the year before the Games is the most important one if you’re trying to represent for your country. This is where the selections for the Olympic teams are made according to who killed the most that year. I can say I went pretty hard last year.
Not all Olympic athletes can practice all year during their own contest circuit like snowboarders.
True. For many athletes, the Olympics are what they're preparing for all their lives. We are lucky that the snowboard industry has its own competitions and its own World Cups. We are lucky to have our own professional circuit AND to be able go to the Olympics too. Because winning a medal at the X-Games is something, but winning one at the Olympics is a whole other thing. Let alone a gold one.
Well, you can say it now. You are an Olympic gold medalist!
I know! This is totally crazy. I feel like this victory will be written in history forever. Compared to other competitions for which the winning hype only lasts until the next stop on the circuit, the Olympic hype is forever! When I get old, I don’t know if people will remember me for my X-Games victories. They might remember that Olympic Gold though.
HA! And how was it when you got back to Montreal? It must have been pretty heavy.
Yeah. When I landed at the Montreal airport, I got a very warm welcome. My family picked me up and I had a couple days to relax and to see my friends, but it was too short. Only a couple days after I got back, I had to get on that media tour mission before heading to Colorado for the US Open.
You’re in Colorado right now?
You’re a beast! Congratulations for your victory again and good luck at the US Open!
Thanks man! Talk soon!