Teenage snowboarder Red Gerard wins first Team USA gold medal

Four years after joining the US national team, Red Gerard is the Olympic champion in the men's slopestyle.

 

Teenager Red Gerard pulled off a shock win in the men's slopestyle snowboarding to claim the first gold medal for Team USA at the PyeongChang Winter Olympics.

The 17-year-old crashed on both of his first two runs amid high winds at Pheonix Park, but pulled off a spectacular final effort that no one could match to become the youngest American man to win an Olympic winter gold medal since 1928.
 
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.
 
Parrot put down a near-flawless run as the last rider to go down, but it wasn't good enough to knock Gerard off the top spot.
 
McMorris, who had been in the lead after two rounds, took his second straight Olympic slopestyle bronze less than a year after crashing into a tree, suffering a collapsed lung, ruptured spleen, fractured jaw, ribs, pelvis and left arm.
"It feels pretty special to stand on this podium again after everything," McMorris told reporters. "I need to pinch myself because I should have some permanent damage from what my accident entailed."
 
The US has not had to wait until the second day of an Olympic Games -- Summer or Winter -- to win its first gold medal since 1998.
Gerard -- real name Redmond -- is also the first ever medalist at the Olympic Winter Games born after January 1 2000, according to Gracenote.
He was a child prodigy, who could walk at nine months, started snowboarding at the age of two and managed to do a standing backflip by the time he was six years old, according to the Washington Post. He joined the American national team just four years ago.
His Olympic journey is set to continue in the men's big air competition, which will be making its debut in an Olympic Games on Feb. 21.