Millennium man Gerard makes history with Olympic first

The golden poke. p Mark Clavin

The golden poke. p Mark Clavin

It was the United States' first gold at the Pyeongchang Games and Gerard made the most of it.

When Rocky River native Red Gerard won the gold medal in men's Olympic slopestyle snowboarding, many were surprised the 17-year-old did so well in an event stacked with talent. Canadian Max Parrot, who had fallen on each of his first two runs, then nailed his final run for the silver medal. So Red Gerard, and the other snowboard medalists will still get their medals, just later on in the day.

Parrot captured silver in men's slopestyle while McMorris took bronze.

"I'm shaking right now, maybe from the cold, or from the excitement, I don't know", he said, just after finishing his third run on Sunday.

There is no better start for an athlete at the Olympics, let alone one who is only 17 competing in his very first event.

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".

For athletes who don't put up a good number with their first run, the pressure just got amplified for their second, and now final run.


Canada's Max Parrot reacts after completing his run in the men's slopestyle finals at Phoenix Snow Park in Pyeongchang, South Korea on February 11, 2018.

"I just look for different lines. I had to land this run so the pressure was at its maximum level but I think I dealt pretty well with it", Parrot told reporters.

Led by Sochi gold medalist Jamie Anderson, the US team is a strong contender for the medal stand on Monday.

The 31-year-old, who won silver in the 5,000m at the Games in Turin in 2006 as well as gold in Vancouver and Sochi, started well and settled into a steady rhythm as he glided to victory in Gangneung. He took gold despite falling on his first two runs, posting scores under 50 points. So I downgraded my run to do one triple [cork] instead of two, and I landed a really clean run. In ice dance, 2010 Olympic champions Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir dazzled with their intricate footwork and exquisite twizzles - with sparkly black and gold outfits to match.

Gerard finished third among the second heat, with a score of 82.55 on his first qualifying run.

While Gerard will steal the headlines, McMorris also got tongues wagging after claiming Bronze in the slopestyle event.

That left the bronze to McMorris, who admits to being lucky to be alive following a crash in Whistler, Canada, past year which left him with 17 broken bones, a collapsed lung and ruptured spleen.

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