Gerard only American to qualify for men's slopestyle final

Gerard was the only American to qualify for the final event.

He fell short of the top-six by less than three points, finishing ninth in the best-of-two qualifying competition. "But that's where I told myself that I've been snowboarding since I was nine years old and that it was already a victory that I was here at the Olympic Games".

At home, he's always second-to-last, the penultimate sibling in the Gerard family lineup. And those few mattered.

Gerard was off the pace after the first and second runs, scoring 43.33 and 46.40, before somehow summoning up an enormous last effort.

"I don't want to think too much about the past today, but I appreciate the fact I'm here on my snowboard", he smiled. It was just a glimpse, but it did look like a Browns logo on the joyous father.

Slopestyle was one of the events that did not fall victim to high winds yesterday, when the showpiece men's downhill skiing was aborted until Thursday. He relishes the chance to flex his mastery in the maze. "It takes a lot of strategy", he said.

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But the 29-year-old from Winnipeg sealed things in the eight and final end with a draw to the button for the 6-4 final. The Hamiltons wound up winning that tournament and carried that momentum forward through the trials in December.

The Canadian pair finishes its round-robin play Sunday against South Korea before playing in the semifinals on Monday.

Gerard raised the bar with his backside triple cork 1440 during his final run to take the lead off McMorris and the Canadian couldn't respond, falling on the final kicker. Later, he praised the course builders.

The USOC congratulated American Red Gerard for winning the first gold of the Olympics for the US, about 15 minutes before his final run was shown on NBC and about 30 minutes before the event was over. "I was puking. I thought I was going to die - literally". "But this is a insane course", he said. All that, and more of what you may have missed from Day 2 in Korea. Gerard also will compete in the Big Air contest, which will be held February 24, the day before the Closing Ceremony. Mack, for one, is excited to test his "Bloody Dracula" trick, which has him spinning and grabbing his board with both hands behind his back.

The 31-year-old beat Canada's Ted-Jan Bloemen into second, with Norway's Sverre Lunde Pedersen in third. "I was just so frustrated and so scared for my second run, because imagine if that happened for my second run?"

He capped his impressive comeback Sunday in the men's slopestyle final at Phoenix Park.

  • Lawrence Cooper