The Associated Press KRASNAYA POLYANA (AP)—Don’t worry, Team USA. The shredder kids have your back.
Americans Joss Christensen, Gus Kenworthy and Nick Goepper swept the podium in men’s slopestyle skiing Thursday, putting on a spectacular show to boost America’s lagging medal count and provide the U.S. team with a jolt from a mountain whose vibe is more spring break than Winter Olympics.
“I am shocked,” Christensen said. “I am stoked to be up here with my friends. America, we did it.”
With style and dominance to spare.
The podium sweep was just the third for the U.S. in Winter Olympic history, joining men’s figure skating in 1956 and men’s halfpipe snowboarding in 2002. All four U.S. gold medals in Sochi have come at Rosa Khutor Extreme Park, and Thursday’s haul came 15 hours after Kaitlyn Farrington and Kelly Clark grabbed gold and bronze in women’s halfpipe snowboarding.
“It’s crazy,” Goepper said. “I think it’s going to give the U.S. a lot more confidence and it’s going to get a lot of people really excited.”
The Americans were certainly fired up.
Goepper and Kenworthy raised Christensen on their shoulders following what amounted to a victory lap during Christensen’s last run down the mountain. The good friends wore flags as capes in the giddy aftermath of their victory in the sport’s Olympic debut.
Christensen was the last slopestyle skier named to the Olympic team, getting the nod over, among others, former world champion Tom Wallisch. The 22-year-old from Park City, Utah, was easily the best on a sun-splashed day where the weather was so warm that teammate Bobby Brown—who finished ninth—wore only a T-shirt in the finals.