After two really late nights covering men’s and women’s snowboard halfpipe, it was tough to get out of bed and drag myself back to the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park this morning for men’s freeski slopestyle finals. Once I was there, the guys sure made it easy for me to stay awake. What a contest.
And what a debut for the sport of freeskiing so far. Thursday morning’s contest was maybe the best of the Games as action sports is concerned. All the top guys landed runs, and they played a game of one-up every time they did so. More triples were landed in this event than in any before it, and that’s just two weeks after the first triple ever was landed in a ski slope contest, by new Olympic silver medalist Gus Kenworthy at X Games.
In the end, it was Joss Christensen and his switch triple cork 1260 who won. And just to prove he very much earned his spot on the team and deserved to be in Sochi, he used his “victory lap” to land the second-highest-scoring run of the day.
Joss’s story is one of the best of the Olympics so far, in my humble opinion. What it took for him to get to this day and his ability to push all that out of his mind and perform the way he did is incredible.
I wrote about Joss and his road to gold HERE. But I warn you, his story is a tear jerker. The volunteers at the slopestyle venue needed mops, there were so many tears in the finish area when his score was announced.
And there was that little added cherry of Kenworthy and Nick Goepper completing only the third U.S. sweep in Olympic history. (Bobby Brown finished ninth.) I’m sure Danny, Ross and J.J.are proud to share that distinction with them.
These guys are about to be caught up in a whirlwind when they step back onto U.S. soil. Joss’s story is one of the most heart-tugging of the Olympics so far, and who doesn’t love an underdog returning home with gold? The media has fallen in love with Gus and his crusade to save a family of Sochi strays who were living at the mountain media center (I can see the Ellen interview now). And Nick with his small-town, small-mountain story already captivated the mainstream media pre-Sochi. This just cements him as one of the young faces of freeskiing.
They’re 20, they’re cute, they’re sweet as saccharine and I hope to see all of their mugs on cereal boxes very soon.