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

in Sports

Vikings, Titans and Panthers sign players

Fresh
NFL logo on the field before an NFL football game between the Detroit Lions and the New England Patriots in Detroit, Thursday, Aug. 22, 2013.

The Minnesota Vikings and veteran cornerback Terence Newman, free agent wide receiver Jarrett Boykin has signed with Carolina, and the Titans have signed cornerback Brandon Harris.

in Sports

East and South Regional semifinal play tonight in the Tournament

Fresh
The NCAA logo is at center court as work continues at The Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh, Wednesday, March 18, 2015, for the NCAA college basketball second and third round games. Second round games start on Thursday.

The last of the NCAA Tournament's Sweet 16 games are on tap tonight in Syracuse, New York, and Houston.

in Sports

This week’s top sports shots

AP564917773040_12

A look at some of the biggest plays and best photos in sports this week.

in Sports

Aaron Hernandez fiancee discusses money, gun at murder trial

Fresh
Shayanna Jenkins, fiancee of former New England Patriots football player Aaron Hernandez, watches during the Hernandez's murder trial, Thursday, Jan. 29, 2015, in Fall River, Mass. Hernandez is charged with killing semiprofessional football player Odin Lloyd, 27, in June 2013.

Former New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez and his fiancee traded expressionless glances Friday as she took the witness stand to testify in his murder trial.

in Sports

Coaching openings at Tennessee and St. John’s

Fresh
Tennessee head coach Donnie Tyndall responds to a officials call in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Vanderbilt on Wednesday, Feb. 11, 2015, in Nashville, Tenn. Tennessee won in overtime 76-73.

Donnie Tyndall is out after just one season at Tennessee and Steve Lavin is no longer the coach at St. John's.

Bellingham Traffic