News

‘America, we did it!’ Christensen leads U.S. sweep

‘America, we did it!’ Christensen leads U.S. sweep

GOLDEN: Joss Christensen of the U.S. performs a jump during the men's freestyle skiing slopestyle finals at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games in Rosa Khutor, Feb. 13. Photo: Reuters/Dylan Martinez

By Nick Mulvenney

ROSA KHUTOR, Russia (Reuters) – Joss Christensen led a United States podium sweep in spectacular fashion to win the first Olympic gold medal in men’s slopestyle skiing at the Sochi Games on Thursday.

Another bumper crowd at Extreme Park were treated to a thrilling display of acrobatics as the freestyle skiers pushed their routines to the limits against a backdrop of snow-capped mountains and blue skies.

Christensen led the pack after qualifying and his 95.80 on his opening run of the final, which he capped with a stunning switch triple-corked 1440 on the final jump, assured him of the title even before his second attempt.

PHOTOS: 12 hot reasons to watch the Winter Games | COMPLETE COVERAGE: 2014 Sochi Olympics

Reflecting the have-a-go spirit of the sport, though, the 22-year-old nailed another spectacular flurry of flips, spins and tricks for a score of 93.80, which would have been enough for gold in itself.

“I can’t really believe it right now, this is pretty crazy. It has been just an amazing day,” said Christensen.

“I am shocked. I am stoked to be up here with my friends. America, we did it!”

Gus Kenworthy took silver with a score of 93.60 on his second run after falling in his first, while teenager Nick Goepper, the pre-competition Favorite, settled for bronze with 92.40.

Despite being encumbered by all their gear, the beaming minor medalists managed to lift Christensen into the air on an improvised chair.

“I am so stoked about an American one-two-three,” said Kenworthy.

“Nick is always the guy to kind of beat in a contest, he is so consistent and so incredible and Joss is really killing it right now. He is one of my best friends and I am stoked.”

The United States swept both slopestyle skiing golds after Jamie Anderson’s victory in the women’s event, which was also making its debut at the Sochi Games.

While Christensen learned his tricks on the best facilities in the world in his home town of Park City, Utah, James Woods had to make do with a dry slope in the unglamorous British industrial city of Sheffield.

Woods made it through to the final in third place but, hampered by a hip injury he sustained in a crash last week, was unable to deliver Britain their second Olympic medal on the snow and finished fifth behind Norway’s Andreas Haatveit.

Goepper, who won the last two X-Games titles in slopestyle, reflected a general consensus that the skiers had taken the sport to a whole new level in Sochi.

“I feel amazing,” said the 19-year-old. “It think today was the best display of skiing we have ever seen in our sport, so I am so happy.”

(Editing by Peter Rutherford)

Recent Headlines

8 hours ago in Viral Videos

Will Ferrell wants to be the new animal expert on ‘The Late Show’

15-overlay-7

Stephen Colbert's "The Late Show" doesn’t have an animal expert yet, so why shouldn’t it be Will Ferrell?

14 hours ago in Music

Hozier can’t wait to start work on his next album

22-overlay-5

After the success of his single "Take Me to Church," Hozier is approaching the end of his tour and making plans to work on his sophomore album.

15 hours ago in Music, Weird

Lock of John Lennon’s hair could fetch up to $10,000 at auction

johnlennon

Heritage Auctions, which is selling the hair of the late singer, said it was clipped and saved by a hairdresser in Germany in 1966.

15 hours ago in Trending, Viral Videos

TODAY’S MUST SEE: Ben Stiller’s female Viagra ad

12-overlay-6

It was supposed to play during the Super Bowl.

1 day ago in Viral Videos

Elton John carpool karaoke

19-overlay

James Corden asks Elton John to help him navigate Los Angeles on a rainy day.