Seven days after the opening ceremonies, and the United States has five gold medals during the 2018 Winter Olympic Games. These five U.S. athletes are everything from underdogs to favorites, breakout stars to established contenders. Let’s check out the five gold-medal-winning performances for Team USA thus far:
Red Gerard, Men’s Snowboard Slopestyle
The first medal for Team USA came from 17-year old Red Gerard of Silverthorne, Colorado. He came up with a surprise victory in the Men’s Snowboard Slopestyle event Saturday after putting down a killer final run to finish with the top single-run score of 87.16. After falling on each of his first two runs, Gerard was far from a podium position going into the third and final run. In fact, he was in dead last among the final round participants, but with only the rider’s top run determining the standings, he had one left chance to boost himself up the leaderboard. Red Gerard was the only American in the final round, and with that final run, beat the 11 other competitors in the field for the gold during his Olympic debut.
Jamie Anderson, Women’s Snowboard Slopestyle
The gold-medal winner from the 2014 Winter Olympics returned and successfully defended her title on Tuesday. The 27-year old from South Lake Tahoe, California battled tough conditions the day of the event on her way to the top of the podium. She started off hot with a score of 83 on her first run, which would end up holding steady as the top run all day. Her score bested silver medalist Laurie Blouin of Canada by a whole six points, a considerable margin.
Chloe Kim, Women’s Snowboard Halfpipe
The heavy favorite for the gold medal, Chloe Kim did not disappoint. The 17-year-old phenom not only won the Women’s Halfpipe competition Tuesday, but won with style. Kim had the gold medal locked up by the time she went out there for her final run, but that didn’t stop her from going for broke with a run for the ages. She pulled off two consecutive 1080s, or three full rotations, (something that has never been done in Olympic competition up until now) for an event-high score of 98.25 (out of 100). A gold medal winner in her first Olympic games, expect to see Kim a front-runner for years to come.
Shaun White, Men’s Snowboard Halfpipe
The most accomplished athlete on this list, the 31-year old Shaun White headed into the 2018 Games as the favorite once again. He added another gold to his collection Tuesday with a dominating performance in the Halfpipe competition. White clinched the gold with a near perfect score on his final run, a 97.75. The biggest name in snowboarding for over a decade, White won the Halfpipe for the third time, adding to his first-place finishes in the 2006 and 2010 Olympic Games. The victory comes as a redemption performance for White after failing to medal in the 2014 Sochi Games.
Mikaela Shiffrin, Women’s Giant Slalom.
Considered one of the greatest skiers in the world right now, Shiffrin’s victory Wednesday was no surprise. The 22-year old from Vail, Colorado has been absolutely dominating the competitive circuit, and her gold-medal performance in the Giant Slalom can attest to her ability. She entered her second and final run in second place, and captured the gold with a second-run time of 2:20.02. After finishing in fourth in the Slalom event on Thursday, Shiffrin is still expected to compete In at least two more events and could very well take home a few more golds.
We’d also like to shout out a few more USA athletes who may not have won gold, but still earned some hardware of their own: Arielle Gold (Women’s Snowboard Halfpipe/ Bronze), Chris Mazdzer (Men’s Luge Singles/ Silver) and the USA Figure Skating Team for their bronze medal in the Team Event.
With plenty more events to go (including some of the most highly-anticipated ski events), expect to see more American athletes atop the podium in the week to come. And as always: Go Team USA!
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