Seventeen-year-old Redmond Gerard grabs first gold for USA in snowboard slopestyle final
A perfect backside triple edged US teenager Redmond Gerard ahead in a tense men’s snowboarding slopestyle final, ahead of Canadian pair Maxence Parrot and Mark McMorris at the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games
Redmond Gerard won the United States' first gold medal at the PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games by taking victory in the men's snowboarding slopestyle final.
Canadian Maxence Parrot took silver with his final run, tipping compatriot Mark McMorris – the leader after two completed rounds – into the bronze medal position.
A perfect backside triple
Gerard, at 17 the youngest in the men’s competition, landed a perfect backside triple cork 1440 on his final run. Despite Parrot landing the same trick on the final run of the day, the judges favoured the American.
Every boarder had three runs on the course, with each athlete’s result calculated as the best score of the three as assessed by the nine judges.
“It feels incredible. I'm just really happy that I got to land a run and I'm just really excited right now,” he said afterwards.
Saving the best for last
Gerard left it all until the final run, having bailed out of his first two attempts after making mistakes. He entered the final round in 10th placing in the 11-man final.
“It was awesome. I just told myself that I want to land a run and I was a little bummed on my first two runs because I fell a couple of times,” he said. “I'm just so happy that it all worked out.”
After scoring 87.16 on his final run to shoot into the lead, Gerard had a tense wait at the finishing line as Parrot laid down a determined challenge.
“I was really happy when I saw I came in as first,” Gerard said. “I don't know, Max had a pretty good run, I was questioning it. But you know, judges have their own minds, and I'm super psyched."
A victory for the new millennium
In taking the gold medal, Gerard also became the first medallist at a Winter Olympic Games to be born after 1 January, 2000 (he was born on 29 June, 2000) and also the youngest gold medallist in any snowboard event.
McMorris won his second Olympic medal after taking bronze in this event at Sochi 2014. He became the first Canadian man to win multiple medals in snowboard at the Olympic Winter Games.
It was a disappointing day for Norway, which had three riders in the competition. Sochi 2014 silver medallist Staale Sandbech was fourth, with teenage sensation Marcus Kleveland finishing sixth.