Earlier today, the U.S. skiers swept the competition on the slopes in the Olympic debut of the Slopestyle Skiing event in Sochi; moving Team USA up the medal standings with a total of 12 in the 2014 Winter Olympic Games.
The 1-2-3 finish was led by American freestyle skier Joss Christensen with a final score of 95.8 that stood as the rest of the 12-man field couldn’t surpass the 22-year-old from Park City, Utah. Christensen’s childhood friend, Gus Kenworthy won the silver medal with a score of 93.6 and pushed teammate Nick Goepper down to a bronze medal with a score of 92.4 – making it a U.S. sweep on the podium.
The young superstar freestyle skiers were able to put on an eye-catching show with high-flying tricks in the daredevil event and were able to boost the lagging United States medal count on Day 6 of the Sochi Winter Olympics.
On Twitter, Joss Christensen couldn’t believe he won gold on the slopes.
Wow. Still in shock right now. Today has been the craziest day ever! Definitely one I’ll never forget. For you dad! pic.twitter.com/UmpsfB4HVj
— Joss Christensen (@josschristensen) February 13, 2014
Christensen’s father, James Dale Christensen died at the age of 67 in August when his son was about to begin his journey to make the Olympic Team. Christensen ended up putting his Olympic plans on hold until a few months before Sochi and barely made the Olympic team.
Coming into the Sochi Olympics, gold medal winner Christensen was on the bubble but was determined to make the Olympic team in honor of his dad, and Goepper, the 19-year-old freestyle skier from Indiana was considered a heavy favorite to win gold after dominating in the Winter X-Games and the World Ski Championships for the past two years.
Although Goepper fell short of the expectations that surrounded him, it’s clear that none of it matters as he and his fellow Olympic teammates celebrated the Slopestyle sweep on the sunny and warm mountains in Sochi.
Gus Kenworthy made headlines earlier this week off the slopes by adopting stray Sochi puppies after the horrible news that broke out before the Olympics began about the killing of stray dogs that overpopulate the streets of Russia. The 22-year-old silver medalist has already made arrangements for vaccinations and kennels to have four puppies and their mother be sent home with him.
In the first-ever Olympic men’s ski slopestyle competition and in their first Olympic appearances – the U.S. skiers flew sky-high on Thursday and their historic podium sweep was the third time in U.S. history at the Winter Games since 2002 when American snowboarders swept the field in the halfpipe event at the Salt Lake City Winter Games.
You can follow David Pradel on Twitter: @davepradel_