SOCHI, Russia -- This could have been a balmy, T-shirt day at Mammoth or Park City, Utah, during a Team USA competition.
Only it happened at the Sochi Olympics and in the final of the men’s slopestyle skiing event at Rosa Khutor Extreme Park on Thursday, when the United States swept the podium: Joss Christensen took gold, Gus Kenworthy claimed silver and Nicholas Goepper, who had been favored, got the bronze.
This was the third time the U.S. has swept the podium at the Winter Games, according to the U.S. Olympic Committee. The other times: men’s figure skating in 1956 at the Cortina d’Ampezzo Olympics and men’s snowboard halfpipe in 2002 at Salt Lake City.
Christensen made a statement with his first run when he scored 95.80, and he won by a substantial margin as Kenworthy’s best run, his second, was worth 93.60. Goepper had a 92.40 in his first run.
Christensen, who overcame a knee injury in late 2012, had never won a major competition, and his timing couldn’t have been more perfect in Sochi.
He paid tribute to his father, who died in August, saying, “I did it for him.
“I hope I made my father proud. He’s been supporting me since Day 1 through all the injuries I’ve had, which I know scare parents a lot. He’s always supported me and never said stop. I wish he was here and I hope he’s looking down and smiling.”