Red Gerard wins first US medal of PyeongChang Olympics, a gold in men’s slopestyle

Cans of Cass Light, Budweiser and Fitz had been flowing all morning at the base of the hill, but they could not staunch the anxiety the Gerard clan felt Sunday as Red Gerard stood on the top of the slopestyle course, ready for his last run. They had come together, 18 deep, to cheer on the second youngest of seven siblings, the 17-year-old, 115-pound pipsqueak becoming America’s latest snowboard sensation. They waved cutouts of his head on sticks, U.S. flags and signs, including one that read, “We’re here to get Gerarded!”

But now, as Gerard prepared to drop in, there were nerves. He had failed to land his first two runs, meaning any chance of landing on the podium depended solely on his third and final trip. Even Red, who had arrived at the Olympics declaring his expectation for a “mellow” experience spent “just hanging,” later would admit to nerves.

Minutes later, the party really started at the base of the hill. Gerard executed a flawless, electrifying and audacious run that vaulted a rider admired by his peers into a wholly different level of fame. Gerard’s 87.16-point run, punctuated by a spinning, flipping jump through the mountain chill, launched him into first place and ultimately earned him the United States’ first medal of

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