Sage Kotsenburg writes history
The US rider claimed the first ever Olympic Gold in slopestyle today and thus also the first one of the 2014 Olympic Winter Games at Sochi. Stale Sandbech (NOR) and Mark McMorris (CAN) rounded out the podium as second and third.
Mother nature seems to be a snowboard fan as she provided some blue bird sky and temperatures just below zero degrees as perfect stage for the Olympic slopestyle event debut which some 5,000 spectators including some royals wanted to live at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park.
And everyone who came out for the big show witnessed some high class and quality slopestyle snowboarding, which Jamie Nicholls (GBR), who finished in sixth position described as the “highest standard I've ever seen.”
The twelve riders who had made it to the finals were going for it hard providing and insane level of competition packed with tons of triples, 1440 and even some backside 1620's.
How ever, some of them struggled a bit with their landings failing to lay down a clean first run.
But not so Sage Kotsenburg (USA) who is well-known for his unique style impressing both, the crowd as well as the judges with some double grabs and a trick choice rich in variety.
The 20-year-old sole US American in the finals, who had successfully taken the detour placing second in this mornings semis, felt comfortable with the whole course consisting of three rails and park features and a final three-jump line with the kicker size increasing.
He kicked off things with a cab 270 to fakie to a half cab 540 out, layback hand drag back 1 out off the cannon and stomped a huge cab 1260 double japan to frontside double nose 1080 on the first and second kicker finishing things off with a back 1620 triple cork setting the bar too high for the rest of the field with 93.50.
"I'm really excited. It feels awesome. I don't know what to call it. I have no idea what's actually going on," Kotsenburg told the Olympic News Service (ONS). "This is the craziest thing that ever happened."
Only the second best qualifier Stale Sandbech was able to get close to the score with 91.75 for his clean and effortless second tech-run consisting of cab 270 hardway, switch board 270, half cab 450 out, cab 1260, front 1440 and a backside 1440 triple cork.
"Snowboarding has no kind of limits - you can do bigger tricks and you can do more spins and more flips. You can do different grabs, you can do more grabs," Sandbech said. "Sage obviously did some super tech creative grabs and a 1620 - he had such a sick rail run."
The podium was rounded out by odds-on favourite form Canada Mark McMorris who – just like Sandbech – got his things together in the second run.
After having received his ticket for the finals in the semis, the FIS Snowboard World Champs Silver medalist who was competing with a broken rip sent it with a switch 270 on the first rail, cab 540 bonk at the famous Russian doll plus a cab triple underflip to frontside 1080 and back triple cork 1440 earning 88.75 and thus the Bronze.
"I've just been through a rollercoaster over these last few weeks," McMorris stated. "To get on the podium is just a dream come true."
Sven Thorgren (SWE) and top qualifier Maxence Parrot (CAN) just missed the top-3 super close with 87.50 and 87.25.
Check the full results here.
To take a look behind the scenes, watch this photo gallery.