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Following Red Gerard as he realized the Olympic dream he never had

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PYEONGCHANG, South Korea – Red Gerard was scared.

That’s what he told fellow rider Stale Sandbech of Norway after putting down his gold-medal run in the second-ever Olympic men’s snowboard slopestyle competition in Sochi.

NBCOlympics.com: Women’s snowboard slopestyle qualifying cancelled

Only, Gerard didn’t know at the time that he was going to become the youngest Olympic snowboarding champion of all time and the first U.S. medalist at these Games.

The 17-year-old hadn’t even seen his score yet. Sandbech, the 2014 Olympic silver medalist behind upset champion Sage Kotsenburg, put his left arm around the latest American surprise.

Read the rest of the story and watch Gerard’s gold medal run 

Red Gerard wins gold, claims first 2018 Olympic medal for USA

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He knew it as soon as he landed: that was a huge run. 17 year-old Red Gerard claimed the first Olympic gold medal for the United States at the 2018 Olympic Games.

Entering the snowboard slopestyle competition, all eyes were on the Norwegian and Canadian snowboarders, and they looked to fit the bill entering the finals, having crammed eight of the 12 athletes. Yet, the heavy hitters seemed to struggle in all three runs of the final round.

NBCOlympics.com: Red Gerard’s gold medal in snowboard slopestyle

Marcus Kleveland, Seppe Smits, Sebastien Toutant, and Tyler Nicholson all mightily struggled on the course today.

With ice in his veins, Gerard saved his biggest run for last, landing a massive 87.16 in his third run to clinch the gold. The American launched a near-perfect run and landed solid on some of his biggest jumps.

With his run out of the way, Gerard had to wait a nervy couple of minutes as the final competitors took the slope for one last attempt to overcome the American.

NBCOlympics.com: The backyard that made Red Gerard

First up was Mark McMorris, the hands-on favorite to win the event. Attempting a 1,660 spin on his final jump, the Canadian crashed, sending him out of contention.

Next up was fellow Canadian, and fellow contender, Max Parrot, who delivered his own remarkable run. Yet it just wasn’t enough, as his 86.00 scoreline forced him to settle for second.

 

Full Results: 

Gold: Red Gerard (USA), 87.16

Silver: Max Parrot (CAN), 86.00

Bronze: Mark McMorris (CAN), 85.20

Fourth: Staale Sanbech (NOR), 81.01

Fifth: Carlos Garcia Knight (NZL), 78.60

Sixth: Marcus Kleveland (NOR), 77.76

Seventh: Tyler Nicholson (CAN), 76.41

Eighth: Torgeir Bergrem (NOR), 75.80

Ninth: Niklas Mattsson (SWE), 74.71

Tenth: Seppe Smits (BEL), 69.03

Eleventh: Matt Toutant (CAN), 61.08

Twelfth: Mons Roisland (NOR), DNS

Red Gerard hopes to emulate Sage Kotsenburg upset

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PYEONGCHANG, South Korea – Red Gerard saw Sage Kotsenburg two weeks ago. The Olympics were not a heavy discussion topic.

But Gerard will hope on Sunday morning (Saturday night ET) to follow Kotsenburg as an unlikely U.S. Olympic slopestyle medalist. The difference is that Kotsenburg was a veteran, while Gerard is the youngest U.S. Olympic male snowboarder in history.

“I don’t think I was too ready for it [the Olympics], to be honest,” the 17-year-old from Silverthorne, Colo., said after advancing to the 12-man final in fourth place in qualifying Saturday afternoon. “Every checkpoint you go through, you’ve got to go through a security thing, you’ve got to show your credential everywhere you go. I get frustrated. Everybody’s like, you’ve got to just keep your patience.”

Gerard looked unflustered at Phoenix Snow Park. Like the laid-back rider who has emerged as the best American slopestyler in the last year. He put down perhaps the most creative run in qualifying. The other three Americans did not advance.

Read more and watch highlights from the men’s qualifying heats