February 22, 2018

Teenage snowboarder wins America's first gold medal at Pyeongchang 2018

11 February 2018, 11:22 | Joan Schultz

Just chillin'

Pyeonchang's coastal location on the western side of the Korean Peninsula and near the Sea of Japan

After a few tense moments, a score of 86.00 gave Parrot the silver - and gave the United States its first gold, and first medal overall, of the Games.

Red Gerard won U.S. its first medal at the 2018 Winter Olympics after winning gold for his Slopestyle run. Canadian Max Parrot, who had fallen on each of his first two runs, then nailed his final run for the silver medal.

The spectacle of the opening ceremony of the 2018 Pyeongchang Games was bright, shiny and memorable, but those theatrics had nothing on 17-year-old American snowboarder Red Gerard. He is also the second-youngest man to win a medal in an individual event.

"You know, just landing a run in general and then being lucky enough to get on the podium and then to win is insane", Gerard explained.

The two Canadians finished behind 17-year-old American Redmond Gerard, who gave the US its first gold of 2018 with a score of 87.16.

The 18-year-old qualified in first place from heat one, leading a strong Norwegian contingent and said the spirit in the camp had been great coming into the event. Wust then bettered that time at every checkpoint, until the last, when she came up an agonizing 0.08 seconds short.

"I don't really think I knew what the Olympics is", said Gerard, who claims he didn't grow up watching TV or fantasizing about taking Olympic runs.

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But he dropped out of the medals to gift American Chris Mazdzer the silver and German Johannes Ludwig the bronze. He finished in fourth place after two runs, finishing one one-thousandth outside of the top contenders.

After nailing his third and final slopestyle run to launch himself from eighth place to first, Red Gerard found himself surrounded by cheering teammates, coaches and perhaps loudest of all - his family. The Silverthorne, Colo. resident put down one of the most hard and creative runs of the qualifying heats to punch a ticket to the finals on February 11.

The teen Gold medal victor said later: 'It feels incredible. "I never thought I'd end up learning tricks in the backyard". "I'm shaking right now, maybe from the cold, or from the excitement, I don't know".

When Red Gerard gets his gold medal tonight, he may stand on the top of the podium by himself - but he didn't get there alone.

"I felt a lot of pressure, especially after bailing my first two runs and not putting a score down". So I downgraded my run to do one triple [cork] instead of two, and I landed a really clean run.

On the second-to-last jump, Gerard took a risk by trying a 1080-degree jump off the quarterpipe side of the kicker instead of going straight through the jump and flying higher. He even won gold at a World Cup Big Air event in China in November. He also is the first Winter Games gold medalist born in the 2000s.

Just 11 months before the Olympics, the Canadian began battling his way back from life-threatening injuries.

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