- Written by Ben Jacklet
- Category: Slopestyle/Rail Jam
- Published: February 08, 2014
- Last Updated: February 11, 2014
Oh yea and this happened today too hahaha pic.twitter.com/Bo81mGNROa— sage kotsenburg (@sagekotsenburg) February 10, 2014
Sage Kotsenburg won the first gold medal of the 2014 Olympics in snowboarding slopestyle, beating out the heavily favored Canadian Mark McMorris with two stylish runs down a huge course.
Kotsenburg, 20, was born in Idaho and raised in Park City, Utah, and he has done plenty of summer training on Mount Hood. He made his US Open debut at the age of 12 and won slopestyle silver at the Winter X Games in 2012.
The ebullient Kotsenburg was considered a longshot heading into the first Olympics to include skiing and snowboarding slopestyle, with most of the hype focused on Shaun White and Mark McMorris. But his odds improved after White injured his wrist and pulled out of slopestyle to focus on winning his third halfpipe Olympic gold, and McMorris broke a rib just before traveling Sochi.
Kotsenburg nailed run after run with creativity and style to make it through the qualifying rounds and into the finals. This was his response on Twitter:
Whoa how random is this I made finals at the Olympics!!!— sage kotsenburg (@sagekotsenburg) February 8, 2014
Then in the finals he pulled off two super-smooth runs and landed a backside 1620 with a Japan grab to win gold. That means four and a half backwards spins (1620 degrees), while grabbing the backside of his board (Japan).
It was good enough to beat McMorris, who won bronze, and Norway's Staale Sandbech, who won silver.
Here's how Sage reacted on Twitter:
WOW!! I just won the Olympics!! Bringing back the first Gold here to the USA! Love seeing all the support from everyone YOU RULE!!— sage kotsenburg (@sagekotsenburg) February 8, 2014
And here's a twitpic from another Mount Hood-trained slopestyle genius, freeskier Nick Goepper, a favorite to add to the slopestyle Olympic medal haul later this week:
Sage has done more than his share of summer training and coaching on Mount Hood with both High Cascade Snowboard Camp (where he and his Lick the Cat crew have earned a Signature Session) and Windells. He is also sponsored by Oregon-based Nike Snowboarding.
His gold medal in Sochi can be seen as a triumph of smooth style over gymnastic-routine acrobatics. He has a knack for making complex tricks look effortless, and the judges recognized that and rewarded him with higher scores than they gave to McMorris for twin triple corks.
To get a taste of Kotsengurg's views on matters of style, and also his laid-back personality and sense of humor, check out this lively four-minute “Holy Crail” edit from Transworld Snowboarding Films.