Sage Kotsenburg rode to a strong 93.50 on his first run to take gold in the debut of slopestyle snowboarding. (Getty Images-Julian Finney)
ROSA KHOTUR, Russia (Feb. 8) - Sage Kotsenburg (Park City, UT) scored an historic victory to open the 2014 Olympic Winter Games, winning the first ever slopestyle snowboarding gold medal. Kotsenburg, who failed to qualify in Thursday's opening rounds, made his way into the finals Saturday morning then put down a remarkable first run which held for the win. Norway’s Staale Sandbech earned silver with Canadian favorite Mark McMorris taking bronze. Coverage of the slopestyle final will air Saturday on NBC at 8:00 p.m. EST, and can be streamed at NBCOlympics.com.
Sage Kotsenburg (Park City, UT) scored an historic victory to open the 2014 Olympic Winter Games, winning the first ever slopestyle snowboarding gold medal.
Kotsenburg, who failed to qualify in Thursday's opening rounds, made his way into the finals Saturday morning then put down a remarkable first run which held for the win.
Norway’s Staale Sandbech earned silver with Canadian favorite Mark McMorris taking bronze.
Kotsenburg showed the sportsmanship and camaraderie of snowboarding when he pulled his friends Sandbech and McMorris up onto the top of the podium with him during the medals presentation.
Both Kotsenburg and McMorris failed to qualify for the final in Thursday’s opening qualification, but they were able to ride into the top four in Saturday morning’s semifinal and advance to the final later in the day.
Team USA athletes Ryan Stassel (Anchorage) and Chas Guldemond (Reno, NV) did not advance to the final and finished 14th and 15th respectively.
Kotsenburg’s gold medal winning run: Cab 270 to switch, half-cab on back 540 off flat down, half-cab layback slide off the cannon back 180 out, cab double cork 1260 holy crail, frontside 1080 off the toes rocket air and backside 1620 Japan.
Coverage of the slopestyle final will air Saturday on NBC at 8:00 p.m. EST and can be streamed at NBCOlympics.com.
QUOTES Sage Kotsenburg All the riders were stoked today with how everything was organized. It was really smooth and we just went out there and rode and did our thing. All of us were having a blast today; you could see us all high-fiving at the bottom and it’s not like we’re bummed out when other people come down and land a run. As much as you want to stay on top, you want them to get a good score too because I grew up with Mark (McMorris, Canada) and Staale (Sandbech, Norway). We’ve just become such good friends over the past couple years. It’s sick to be on the podium with them and everyone is stoked for each other.
I just kind of do random stuff all the time. I never really make a plan. I had no idea I was going to even do a 1620 in my run until like three minutes before I dropped. The holy crail is a grab I invented a couple months ago, so I really wanted to do it in my run here and to do it in the cab 1260 on the first jump is pretty cool. Ending with a 1620 Japan was pretty crazy too because I had never even tried that trick before. It was pretty random but I guess it worked out.
Mike Jankowski, U.S. Snowboarding Slopestyle Coach There's nothing like starting out the Olympics for Team USA with a gold medal. The momentum is something we look forward to all the teams grasping onto and really using it as energy to move forward themselves and to get themselves some gold medals.
It’s not always what you do, it’s how you do it, and Sage proved that here today with his unique grab set that he has. All his tricks are very creative and that’s how he wants to portray snowboarding and that’s how we want to portray snowboarding as Team USA. It is an absolute blast being up here and riding with your friends.