The men’s snowboarding slopestyle course in Sochi was too daunting for American favorite Shaun White as he pulled out of the event Wednesday, but the gold ended up going to another American anyway.
Sage Kotsenburg won the first gold medal for the United States on Saturday morning when he scored a 93.50 in the inaugural snowboarding slopestyle event. The 20-year-old was considered the frontrunner to win the competition after White suffered a wrist injury and dropped out, despite pre-event challenges from Team USA’s Canadian rivals.
Kotsenburg won on a trick he had never tried before — a “Back 16 Japan,” according to USA Today. The trick is four-and-a-half backwards spins (1620 degrees of rotation), while grabbing the backside of his board (Japan). Kosternburg took to Twitter after the win, and had possibly the best reaction ever to winning Olympic gold.
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 08, 2014
Staale Sandbech of Norway earned the silver medal and Mark McMorris of Canada, took home the bronze.