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Gerard wins gold in men's slopestyle, giving US first medal

Gerard wins gold in men's slopestyle, giving US first medal

The first US gold medal of the 2018 Winter Olympics was won by 17-year-old Red Gerard, who went from last place to first place on his final run to win the men's snowboard slopestyle final.

Gerards gold is the first Team USA medal in Pyeongchang.

Sitting in 11th place after two runs, Gerard wowed the judges with his descent through a series of rails, ramps and huge jumps to beat Canadian riders Max Parrot and Mark McMorris to the silver and bronze respectively.

NBC was showing Gerard's second of three runs when the US Olympic Committee congratulated him for winning the first gold of the Olympics for the US. He also managed to edge Parrot, who turned in his best score of the day on his third and final run. "I was able to watch Mark [McMorris, a fellow Canadian snowboarder] land the most hard run of the day, but it wasn't clean, and he was scored really low because of it". Team USA's Kyle Mack told USA Today that he had to wake up Gerard before the event began. Now, with all 27 athletes scheduled to compete in Monday's final, there won't be time for a full slate of runs.

"Then I watched Red's run. I finally figured things out, but it took a while". They were the heavy favorites going into the event, so it wasn't surprising.

As he waited for Parrot's score, Gerard stood in the finish corral holding his head. He capped the run with a clean triple-cork 1440.

"I was just really excited that I landed a run", he admits.

Corning, looked like he might be headed to a finals berth following his first run.

"Once I found out that I at least got third, I mean - that's next level". In case anyone doubted she'd recover in time to stake her claim for Olympic gold, she set a world record - breaking her own - in an emotional, evocative skate. That's all I could ask for. Krueger's gold came despite an early fall.

"I was honestly jaw-dropped... My mum loves them, so I'll let my mum handle them". And within months the 24-year-old was back on his snowboard.

The diminutive Gerard, the second-youngest of seven siblings who grew up in Cleveland, Ohio before moving to Colorado, seemed stunned as he became the youngest Olympic snowboarding champion ever. A few years ago, they built a snow park for him and his friends, complete with a rope tow and lights.

According to The Denver Post, Gerard showed up in South Korea like "an accidental tourist", insisting that "I honestly don't know what the Olympics is".

"I don't want to think too much about the past today, but I appreciate the fact I'm here on my snowboard", he smiled.

The extra practice paid off.

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