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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

U.S. beats Japan in Olympic baseball qualifier, may still need help

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The U.S. handed Japan its first loss in the Premier12 global Olympic baseball qualifier, at the Tokyo Dome no less, but now the Americans must root for the host nation.

The Americans, with a roster mostly of Double-A and Triple-A players, won 4-3 over a Japanese team that includes some of its domestic league’s biggest stars like two-time Central League MVP Yoshihiro Maru and veteran shortstop Hayato Sakamoto.

Outfielder Jo Adell, MLB Pipeline’s top-ranked prospect on the U.S. team, starred by reaching base four times with a home run.

Japan is already qualified for baseball’s Olympic return as the host nation.

The U.S., meanwhile, has a sense of urgency at Premier12, the first of a possible three tournaments in which it could clinch an Olympic spot.

At Premier12, the top-ranked nation from North and South America qualifies for the Olympics. The tournament is at the super-round stage of the final six teams, and two are from the Americas: the U.S. and Mexico.

The top four nations after each has played five games advance to gold- and bronze-medal games.

Mexico already beat the U.S. and ran its super-round record to 3-0 on Tuesday, clinching a spot in the medal round.

The U.S. moved to 1-2 in the super round on Tuesday and must at least get into the same medal-round game as Mexico to keep its hope of finishing as the top team from the Americas.

Japan could help, since it plays Mexico on Wednesday. If Mexico beats Japan, the Mexicans clinch a spot in the gold-medal game, which would put more pressure on the U.S. to win its last two games (vs. Australia on Wednesday and Chinese Taipei on Friday). Even then, South Korea would get into the gold-medal game if it wins out.

If the U.S. is not the top team from the Americas at Premier12, it can still earn an Olympic berth in March. But then it faces trying to come up with a roster at the end of MLB’s spring training rather than during the offseason. MLB teams may be less inclined to release minor leaguers.

“That’ll be a delicate dance,” U.S. general manager Eric Campbell said before Premier12.

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College gymnast dies after practice accident

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HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — An accomplished gymnast at Southern Connecticut State University has died following a serious spinal cord injury suffered in a training accident.

Melanie Coleman, 20, of Milford, Connecticut, was training Friday at New Era Gymnastics in Hamden when she was injured, said her mother, Susan Coleman.

She was taken to Yale-New Haven Hospital and died Sunday.

Coleman was a former All State gymnast at Jonathan Law High School in Milford and was captain of the school’s gymnastics team. She was named a Women’s Collegiate Gymnastics Association Scholastic All-American this year.

Her former club coach, Tom Alberti, said she attained a level 10, the highest level in the USA Junior Olympics Program.

She was a junior studying nursing, following in the footsteps of her two older sisters, her mother said.

“She’s from a very large, loving family; there’s seven of us, we were the Coleman seven,” Susan Coleman said. “We spent every day together for the past 20 years.”

She volunteered at the gym where her accident occurred.

Her coaches and professors described her as a special young woman who excelled in both the classroom and gym, college President Joe Berolino said in a written statement.

“Our deepest sympathies are extended to her family and friends on this tragic loss,” he said.

People the family has met by traveling to gymnastics events around the country are giving support that is “holding us up,” Coleman’s mother said.

She described her children, which also include two sons older than Melanie, as “inseparable.”

“We’re going to leave an empty space in our photos for her” from now on, Susan Coleman said.