- Red Gerard wins Gold Medal in PYEONGCHANG Winter Olympics in men’s snowboard
- The first athlete born in the 2000s to ever win a gold medal
Red Gerard bagged the first gold medal for the U.S. in the PYEONGCHANG Winter Olympics in men’s snowboard slopestyle event.
Gerard, 17-year old from Colorado, claimed the gold medal at Phoenix Snow Park on Sunday reviving the memories of surprise win in slopestyle by Sage Kotsenburg in his debut at Sochi Olympics in Russia. Gerard loos up to Kotsenburg, who is now retired from competitive snowboarding, for his style rather than his medal.
Gerard used his stylish rail riding and exhibited an awesome final run to make this place on the podium scoring 87.16. Although, Gerard took two falls in his first two runs, but displayed an impeccable performance when the pressure mounted. He was 11th out of 12 riders after scoring 43.33 and 46.40.
During his runs, Gerard beautifully used various features of the course repeatedly, which other riders ignored. In the second rail section, he transferred over the hitching post while performing an exemplary tweaked-out indy air before doing a 50-50 to tailside followed by 270 out combo on the rail.
In his first jump, Gerard landed switched backside 1260 on the angled jump. This added a level of difficulty as it was against his natural direction of travel in the air.
He chose to do a double cork off the quarterpipe takeoff instead of traditional kicker which was chosen by the other riders.
In his final jump, Gerard performed a clean backside triple cork 1440 and crowned the apex point of his run.
Gerard beat player Max Parrot and Mark McMorris from Canada. Parrot (86.00) and McMorris (85.20) won the Silver and Bronze medals respectively.
Gerard was the only U.S. player in the finalist list, which was full of Canadians and Norwegians with both their full teams qualifying through.
When he was interviewed last year about Olympics last year, Gerard said, “I’ve never really found myself thinking about [the Olympics]. I feel like there’s just always so much stuff going around that I want to pay attention to. And [the Olympics] are just far ahead, so whatever.” This displayed his kind of neutral attitude toward Olympics and at the same time his quote reminded his fans and sports followers of Sage Kotsenburg’s views on Olympics.
Gerard followed footsteps of Kotsenburg, who is well-known for creatively using the entire course. Kotsenburg also took a note of this. In his text message to NBC Sports’ Nick Zaccardi, Kontsenburg wrote, “Just got the craziest deja vu of all time watching Red stomp that run and take it to the top of the podium! That run Red put down was hands down the best run that happened today, using the course to its full potential.”
The Olympic Slopestyle course, which was praised by riders as one of the most creative designs, fuelled Gerard’s creativity which he used in full to score the gold medal.
For sports followers and critics, Gerard’s victory in Olympic hasn’t been surprising. He has been posing a strong contender for a medal because of his results in contests lately. But, with players like Parrot, McMorris, and Kleveland present in the field, it looked like a difficult feat for Gerard to bag a medal – much less a gold medal.
Other than Gerard, several others did pretty well. Parrot rose from this fifth-place finish in Sochi to second place. McMorris added the second Olympic bronze medal to his account – this is especially an impressive feat considering his comeback after a backcountry snowboarding crash which left him with multiple injuries.
The silver medalist from Sochi, Stale Sandbech, missed the podium and finished on the fourth place. The promising candidate for medal, Kleveland finished on the sixth place.
Gerard not only won the first gold medal for the U.S., he also made history by becoming the first athlete born in the 2000s ever win a gold medal