Red Gerard won United States of America its first medal at the 2018 Winter Olympics after winning gold for his Slopestyle run. On Saturday afternoon, the 17-year-old from Silverthorne, Colorado, became the lone US rider to qualify into Sunday's snowboard slopestyle finals, while his mom, dad and all six of his siblings cheered him on from the friends and family section at the bottom of the course. He fell in his first two runs but nailed his third run to move into second place with a score of 86.00.
The slopestyle event consists of three runs per individual, with the best score of three taken into account for final standings. Not only did Gerard win Team USA's first medal of the Olympics, he also made history by becoming the first athlete born in the 2000s to win a medal at the Winter Olympics.
Gerard's ability to cope with Olympic pressure could be due to his lack of obsession with winning at the Games.
"I think a lot of time I need to pinch myself because now I feel so good and comfortable on my board, but eight months ago I probably didn't think I was going to be able to snowboard at this level ever again". Parrot washed out in his first two runs on Sunday, failing to post a score anywhere close to podium-worthy. First, Red told NBC after his win that he was "super groggy" when he woke up and "didn't want to get out of bed"-what 17-year-old hasn't been there?"
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Charlotte Kalla of Sweden won the first gold medal of the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Games, taking the women's 15-kilometer skiathlon.
"It was the cleanest trick in my run so I was really stoked on that and that was definitely the deciding factor for me", he said. "We are all friends out there so, yeah, they were just really happy that we all landed runs".
"I'm mind blown", Gerard said. "I never realized how big this is". Gerard went into first by 1.96 points over Canadian Mark McMorris. "I just kind of grew up watching Dew Tour and X Games". That sucked because it was just from one stupid mistake and I wish I could take that back every day of my life. I wanted him to land a run for himself, for his confidence and well-being, but for all of them too.
McMorris, a 2014 Olympic bronze medallist and the biggest name of Canada's contingent, held a brief lead in the heats until Parrot topped him.