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.