'America, we did it!' Christensen leads US sweep

Thu Feb 13, 2014 7:45am EST
 
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By Nick Mulvenney

ROSA KHUTOR, Russia (Reuters) - Joss Christensen led a United States podium sweep in spectacular fashion to win the first Olympic gold medal in men's slopestyle skiing at the Sochi Games on Thursday.

Another bumper crowd at Extreme Park were treated to a thrilling display of acrobatics as the freestyle skiers pushed their routines to the limits against a backdrop of snow-capped mountains and blue skies.

Christensen led the pack after qualifying and his 95.80 on his opening run of the final, which he capped with a stunning switch triple-corked 1440, assured him of the title even before his second attempt.

Reflecting the have-a-go spirit of the sport, though, the 22-year-old nailed another spectacular flurry of flips, spins and tricks for a score of 93.80, which would have been enough for gold in itself.

"I can't really believe it right now, this is pretty crazy. It has been just an amazing day," said Christensen.

"I am shocked. I am stoked to be up here with my friends. America, we did it!"

Gus Kenworthy took silver with a score of 93.60 on his second run after falling in his first, while teenager Nick Goepper, the pre-competition Favorite, settled for bronze with 92.40.

Despite being encumbered by all their gear, the beaming minor medalists managed to lift Christensen into the air on an improvised chair to celebrate only the third U.S. podium sweep at the Winter Olympics.   Continued...

 
Joss Christensen of the U.S. performs a jump during the men's freestyle skiing slopestyle finals at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games in Rosa Khutor, February 13, 2014. REUTERS/Dylan Martinez