Only Andreas Haatveit of Norway stood in the way of an American podium sweep in the inaugural slopestyle skiing competition in the 2014 Sochi Olympics. After he put down an impressive second run at Rosa Khutor Extreme Park, the world awaited the results.
Haatveit’s score was 91.80. 0.6 of a point off the podium. For only the third time in history, the U.S. swept an event in the Winter Olympics.
Joss Christensen took home the gold with his first run score of 95.80, Gus Kenworthy claimed silver with his score of 93.60, and Nick Goepper rounded out the podium with a bronze scoring run of 92.40, according to Mary Pilon of The New York Times.
“It was definitely an honor to make the team,” said a 22-year-old Christensen who barely made it onto the Olympic team. “I just wanted to show everyone that they made a good choice.”
A good choice it was. Christensen skied the two highest scores of the entire competition Thursday.
“It’s all overwhelming,” Kenworthy expressed after his medal-winning run. “It’s pretty crazy.”
With temperatures continually creeping higher – so high that some athletes are competing in short sleeves – a big story of The Games have been the poor snow conditions. Slushy snow had made all courses in Sochi non-Olympic quality. Complaints from athletes and coaches alike have flooded officials since the beginning.
But on Thursday, the snow conditions at Extreme Park were decent. Skogen Sprang, the American slopestyle skiing coach, expressed that the conditions were “soft, but not sticky.”
Perfect or rough conditions, the American men all laid down electrifying runs, leaving the world wondering how someone gets their body to twirl some four times in the air, and then land perfectly. Sometimes perfectly backwards.
“It’s pretty amazing,” Sprang expressed about his athletes taking home all-three medals. “I’m still kind of in shock.”
Photo Credit: USAToday.com
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