Teen Gerard wins slopestyle snowboarding for USA’s 1st gold

Silver medallist Canada’s Max Parrot, gold medallist US Redmond Gerard and bronze medallist Canada’s Mark McMorris celebrate on the podium during the victory ceremony at the end of the men’s snowboard slopestyle final at the Phoenix Park during the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games on February 11, 2018 in Pyeongchang. (AFP)
Updated 11 February 2018
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Teen Gerard wins slopestyle snowboarding for USA’s 1st gold

PYEONGCHANG, South Korea: Red Gerard and his brothers built their own snowboarding features park in the backyard of their Colorado home as kids, one that provided them a gateway into a sport that is an equal mix of technical precision and daring creativity.
Halfway across the world from his makeshift beginnings, the teenager made the Olympic stage look like just another afternoon back in Silverthorne, Colorado.
The 17-year-old won gold in men’s slopestyle snowboarding on Sunday, drilling his final run to put up a score of 87.16, good enough to edge Canadians Max Parrot and Mark McMorris and give the United States its first gold medal at the Pyeongchang Games.
“It’s a little bit hard to believe, that’s for sure,” Gerard said. “I’m just absolutely just mind-blown. I can’t believe everything worked out.”
Gerard stumbled his way through his opening two runs at tricky, windy and sun-splashed Phoenix Snow Park. It hardly mattered.
He found the line and the rhythm he was missing his third time down the mountain, using some of the techniques he first learned in his backyard to navigate the series of rails at the top before soaring through the moonscape at the bottom.
“I think I was just a little bit nervous (at first),” Gerard said. “I was just like, ‘I came all the way out here, I was just trying to land a run most of all.’“
He didn’t just land it, he stomped it, finishing with a backside triple cork — three twists and a flip — to the delight of his father, Conrad, and the other 17 family members and friends who followed him to South Korea.
“I don’t understand all the tricks he does,” Conrad Gerard said. “I asked my boys, was that good? They said, ‘Yeah, it’s good.’“
And ultimately golden.
Gerard exulted in the moment as he took a few minutes to chat with International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach.
“(Bach) was like, ‘What were you thinking during all those spins?’” Gerard said. “And I was like, ‘I just want to land a run, that’s about it.’ He was kind of joking around.”
Gerard, who lived in the Cleveland, Ohio, area early in his life before his family moved to Colorado when he was 7, stood at the bottom of the hill to see if anyone in the rest of the field could catch him.
They couldn’t. Not this time.
McMorris, a bronze medalist when slopestyle made its Olympic debut in Sochi four years ago, put up an 85.20 during his second run but under-rotated during the last jump of his final landing.
Norwegians Staale Sandbech and Markus Kleveland slipped up during their last shots, too, leaving only Parrot in Gerard’s way.
Parrot topped qualifying on Saturday, just as he did in Sochi as a 19-year-old before sliding to fifth in the finals. Parrot washed out in his first two runs on Sunday, failing to post a score anywhere close to podium-worthy. He collected himself during the short break between the second and third runs and put together a solid set. He made a brief fist-pump after landing and exchanging high-fives with Gerard in a sport that’s built less on competition and more on camaraderie.
Gerard, Parrot and McMorris stood near one another waiting for Parrot’s score to post. When the videoboard flashed 86.00, Gerard celebrated becoming the youngest American snowboarder to win Olympic gold. He’s also the second straight American to win the event, which made its Olympic debut in 2014. Sage Kotsenburg claimed the top spot in Sochi.
McMorris’ second bronze medal came less than 12 months removed from a harrowing free-riding accident that left him with a litany of injuries and threatened to put his career at risk.
Gerard, Parrot and McMorris will have a chance to win another medal when Big Air makes its first Olympics appearance later in the games. That’s heady territory for Gerard, a kid who grew up not aiming for Olympic glory but just a chance to shred.
“I just didn’t think I knew what the Olympics is (as a kid),” Gerard said. “I just kind of grew up watching Dew Tour and X Games. I never really realized how big it is.”
He does now.


Siakam has 30 points, Raptors top Magic 98-93 for 2-1 lead

Updated 20 April 2019
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Siakam has 30 points, Raptors top Magic 98-93 for 2-1 lead

  • Siakam was 13 for 20 from the floor
  • Raptors held Orlando to 36% shooting

ORLANDO, Florida: Pascal Siakam had 30 points and 11 rebounds, Kawhi Leonard added 16 points and the Toronto Raptors held off the Orlando Magic 98-93 on Friday night to take a 2-1 lead in the Eastern Conference first-round series.
Siakam was 13 for 20 from the floor and the Raptors held Orlando to 36% shooting. Leonard had 10 rebounds, Danny Green had 13 points and Kyle Lowry finished with 12 points and 10 assist.
Terrence Ross led Orlando with 24 points, and Nikola Vucevic shook off a slow start to finish with 22 points and 14 rebounds.
Game 4 is Sunday night in Orlando.
The Raptors trailed 61-60 midway through the third, then went on a 16-0 run over the next four minutes to take the lead for good. Siakam and Green were both 3 for 3 during the run, the Magic missed 10 consecutive shots over a span of 6 1/2 minutes and had to play uphill the rest of the way.
That being said, they went down swinging.
Lowry’s 3-pointer with 7:48 left gave Toronto its biggest lead at 86-69. The Magic came flying back, and Ross’ 3-pointer with 41 seconds left got Orlando to 96-93.
Leonard was short with a jumper on the next possession — but the Magic couldn’t control the rebound, and were doomed shortly afterward. Leonard made a pair of free throws with 12.9 seconds remaining to make it a two-possession game again, and that closed the scoring.
Orlando, which finished the regular season by winning 13 of its final 14 home games, was 13 of 44 from 3-point range.
Toronto scored the first 10 points — the last five by Siakam, who was a problem from the outset for the Magic — and led by as many as 11 in the first half.
Orlando got within one on three occasions in the first half, but never got the lead in the opening 24 minutes. Toronto took a 48-45 lead into the break after Ross beat the clock from midcourt at the buzzer.
He took off from the Magic logo and released the ball with about a half-second remaining, it hitting the square on the backboard perfectly and dropping through. Ross never broke stride, watching the ball’s flight as he ran and kept going through the tunnel leading to the Magic locker room.
TIP-INS
Raptors: Toronto had lost four consecutive Game 3s. ... Patrick McCaw (sprained right thumb) was active, but did not play. ... The Raptors are 6-1 in their last seven road games this season. ... Siakam has 73 points and 30 rebounds in the series.
Magic: Among the former Orlando players in the building were Tracy McGrady, Jameer Nelson and Horace Grant. ... Orlando missed three shots at the rim in one third-quarter possession. Vucevic missed at the rim, and Gordon couldn’t convert on two putback tries. ... Attendance was 19,367, the second-most in the Amway Center’s nine-season history.
GOVERNOR SPEAKS
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and the state’s first lady Casey DeSantis were in attendance and received Magic “46” jerseys — a nod to his being the 46th governor of the Sunshine State. The governor and Magic CEO Alex Martins spoke pregame about the hope for Orlando to get another All-Star Game soon, though all through 2022 has already been awarded to other Eastern Conference cities — and Milwaukee, another East city, has expressed interest in 2023.
UP NEXT
Game 4 is Sunday night in Orlando.