Red Gerard broke the seal for Team USA at the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, claiming gold in the men’s snowboard slopestyle despite his being the youngest competitor at just 17 years old.
He’s the second-youngest male ever to claim Winter Olympic gold for the United States, and youngest in 90 years.
17-year-old Red Gerard is the second-youngest American man to win a Winter Olympic gold medal, and the youngest since 1928 (16-year-old Billy Fiske in Bobsled).#PyeongChang2018 pic.twitter.com/ewdsertIkZ
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) February 11, 2018
Sitting in last place after falls on his first two runs of the best-run-wins contest, he took the lead on his third and final trip down the park, earning a score of 87.16 from the judges.
“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,” Gerard said, according to the Olympics’ news service. “I’m just so happy that it all worked out.”
Canadian Max Parrot’s third run was the last of the day, and narrowly fell shy of the 17-year-old’s, with a score of 85 for silver. Fellow Canadian Mark McMorris took bronze.
“I was really happy when I saw I came in as first. I don’t know, [Parrot] had a pretty good run, I was questioning it,” said Gerard, who’ll take on Parrot once again at the big air competition on February 20. “But you know, judges have their own minds, and I’m super psyched.”
Snowboard slopestyle debuted at the last Winter Olympics, in Sochi in 2014. Team USA claimed victory then, too, when Sage Kotsenburg won at the ripe age of 20.