It was a U.S. podium sweep at the historic debut of men’s slopestyle skiing in the 2014 Sochi Olympic Winter Games Thursday, when Joss Christensen took the sport’s first-ever gold medal with his good friends Gus Kenworthy and Nick Goepper earning silver and bronze. (Photo: Getty Images/Joe Scarnici)
It’s not even been three years since the IOC proudly brought halfpipe and slopestyle skiing into the Olympics. It made sense. After all, this is what kids were doing worldwide at resorts. In terrain parks at American resorts coast to coast, young skiers were riding every rail they could find and hucking themselves off massive mounds of snow. From Perfect North Slopes in southern Indiana to Telluride in the San Juans of Colorado and Park City Mountain Resort’s King’s Crown terrain park, the likes of Nick Goepper, Gus Kenworthy and Joss Christensen were simply having fun. Thursday, that fun was converted into gold, silver and bronze as America got to know its newest Olympic heroes.
Bode Miller finished third in the final downhill training run prior to Friday's super combined medal event.
Jared Goldberg was eighth, Andrew Weibrecht 10th and Ted Ligety 11th.
Miller is the defending Olympic super combined champion and Ligety is the defending World Champion.
Ligety is also the 2006 Olympic combined gold medalist when the event was run as a downhill plus two runs of slalom.
With warm temperatures expected, it has been decided to move the downhill start time up one hour to 10 a.m. local time. The slalom portion will start as scheduled at 3:30 p.m.
Bode Miller Wishing in skiing does not get you far. It's time to figure out how to get the most speed out of this [downhill] course and try to get a big gap on the slalom skiers. Tactics have to be the main goal, because it's a pretty steep and challenging [slalom] course, with the snow conditions as well.
Ted Ligety I want to be able to try and get on the podium, and win. I think that is well within my grasp if I ski well. Hopefully I can piece together a good run and then have a good slalom run, and hopefully that equals something metallic around my neck.
Temperatures over 50 degrees Fahrenheit created soft snow and sloppy conditions.
Sophie Caldwell was 32nd, Ida Sargent 34th and Holly Brooks 35th.
The men race 15k classic on Friday with the women's 4x5k relay on Saturday.
Starts include Erik Bjornsen, Brian Gregg, Noah Hoffman, Kris Freeman.
It was a U.S. podium sweep at the historic debut of men’s slopestyle skiing in the 2014 Sochi Olympic Winter Games Thursday, when Joss Christensen took the sport’s first-ever gold medal with his good friends Gus Kenworthy and Nick Goepper earning silver and bronze.
The new Olympic event saw the tight American crew pull out the newest and most challenging tricks, showcasing the sport’s mix of volatility and creativity to the world.
The sport’s creative competition comes from the camaraderie between the athletes and their ability to inspire each other with a good run or a new trick. That’s especially true with Christensen, Kenworthy and Goepper, who grew up skiing, training and competing together.
The boys’ podium sweep was the third for Team USA in Olympic Winter Games history for the USA, after men’s figure skating in 1956 and men’s halfpipe snowboarding in 2002.
Christensen came out of the gates swinging and shot into the top spot after his impressive first run, which earned him an unbeatable score of 95.80.
Goepper landed second after his first run score of 92.40, but was forced to settle for bronze after Kenworthy laid down a clutch second run that earned him the silver medal.
Bobby Brown also qualified for the final and finished seventh.
Warm temperatures at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park provided soft, carvable snow and gave the athletes a perfect medium to put down some of the best runs ever seen in the sport. All top three athletes were able to land triple corks in their runs, which many see as the future of slopestyle skiing.
Christensen is also good friends with slopestyle snowboarding gold medalist and fellow Park City All Star Sage Kotsenburg. They both grew up shredding the Kings Crown terrain park at Park City Mountain Resort and have remained friends throughout their careers, even cheering each other on during the Sochi 2014 Games.
Next, the men battle it out for the first-ever medals in halfpipe skiing Tuesday Feb. 18.
Joss Christensen It means a lot to me. Just competing for the USA is so cool. It’s such a different feeling here. We’re all representing the USA We all have outerwear that says USA on it. We can be proud to be on this team
Aerials get underway Friday night at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park.
Ashley Caldwell and Emily Cook will start for Team USA.
Athletes had another successful day of open training on Thursday.
Next competition is scheduled for Tuesday, Feb 18.
The men had a final round of training under the lights on Thursday night.
The large hill qualification round is set for Friday to determine the field for Saturday night’s medals round.
Starters include: Nick Alexander, Nick Fairall, Peter Frenette and Anders Johnson.
Training is under way for Sunday’s women’s snowboardcross event.
Sochi Olympics TV Viewers Guide For the next 18 days, the world will be captivated by stories of athletic success. American ski and snowboarding fans can watch it all live on NBC Olympics.com along with extensive network broadcast coverage. Comprehensive coverage of the Olympic Winter Games from Sochi kicks off on Thursday, Feb. 6 at 8:00 p.m. ET with preliminary rounds of slopestyle snowboarding and freestyle moguls skiing. Television coverage of the Sochi Games will feature an unprecedented 18 consecutive NBC primetime shows, beginning Thursday, Feb. 6, continuing with Friday night's Opening Ceremony and concluding Sunday, Feb. 23 with the Closing Ceremony.
LIVE STREAM Throughout the Games, every skiing and snowboarding event will be streamed LIVE on Stream.NBCOlympics.com and via the NBC Sports Live Extra mobile app (iPhone/iPad | Android).
NBC Live Streaming Schedule (all times EST) 11:00 p.m. – Men’s super combined downhill 3:00 a.m. – Men’s cross country 15 km classic 4:30 a.m. – Men’s super combined slalom 10:30 a.m. – Women’s aerials finals