News / USA

    US Kotsenburg 'Stoked' on Winning First Sochi Gold

    United States' Sage Kotsenburg takes jump during men's snowboard slopestyle final, Rosa Khutor Extreme Park, 2014 Winter Olympics, Sochi, Feb. 8, 2014.
    United States' Sage Kotsenburg takes jump during men's snowboard slopestyle final, Rosa Khutor Extreme Park, 2014 Winter Olympics, Sochi, Feb. 8, 2014.
    Parke Brewer
    You know you are around snowboarders when you repeatedly hear the words “stoked” and “sick.” Used to describe thrilling jumps, tricks or runs that riders have either seen or performed themselves, the words can mean other things as well.
     
    Men’s slopestyle winner Sage Kotsenburg of the United States used them often after winning the first gold medal of the Sochi Games.
     
    “All the riders were stoked today with how everything was organized," he said shortly after taking the medal in the inaugural event on Saturday. "It was really smooth, and I mean we just really went out there and rode and did our thing. On a global stage like the Olympics, it’s sick to have snowboarding in there, and all of us were having a blast today."
     
    U.S. snowboarder Sage Kotsenburg addressing a news conference after winning the first gold medal at the Sochi Olympics, Feb. 8, 2014 (P. Brewer/VOA).U.S. snowboarder Sage Kotsenburg addressing a news conference after winning the first gold medal at the Sochi Olympics, Feb. 8, 2014 (P. Brewer/VOA).
    x
    U.S. snowboarder Sage Kotsenburg addressing a news conference after winning the first gold medal at the Sochi Olympics, Feb. 8, 2014 (P. Brewer/VOA).
    U.S. snowboarder Sage Kotsenburg addressing a news conference after winning the first gold medal at the Sochi Olympics, Feb. 8, 2014 (P. Brewer/VOA).
    Addressing a press conference at Rosa Khutor Extreme Park, he had nothing but praise for fellow boarders in the new event, only one of several sports added this year to the Winter Olympics in hopes of increasing the amount of younger people who follow the Games.
     
    "You could see us all high-fiving at the bottom, and it’s not like we’re bummed out when other people come down and land good on a run," he said. "You know, we’re equally as stoked for the next person to land a run. As much as you want to stay on top, you want them to get a good score too."
     
    Kotsenburg’s winning score, which he earned on the first of his two runs down the course that includes special rails and jumps for performing acrobatics, was 93.50. That was 1.75 points better than silver medalist Staale Sandbech of Norway (91.75). Canadian Mark McMorris, who competed with a broken rib, earned the bronze (88.75).
     
    Kotsenburg, a personable 20 year old with long blonde hair, a short-cropped beard and a great smile, said his interest in snowboarding began by watching the sport at the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics, close to where he grew up in the state of Utah, as well as snowboarding videos.
     
    “That was kind of like, 'whoa, snowboarding is on a huge global level.' That kind of got me stoked on snowboarding. It didn’t really get me into it, but it got me more stoked on snowboarding to see it like as a global sport. And yeah, I just kept watching a bunch of movies," he said. "I was really a big fan of the old snowboard movies, and that’s what really like inspired me when I was younger.”
     
    Though Kotsenburg had captured the final Olympic qualifying event in California last month, this Olympic gold medal was a surprise. He finished 20th at last year’s World Championships and said his other big victory came long ago when he was 11 years old.
     
    For the Sochi Games he created a new trick that he called the (intentionally misspelled) "Holy Crail."
     
    “I don’t know, I just kind of do random stuff all the time. I don’t really make a plan up. I had no idea I was going to even do a 1620 in my run until like three minutes before I [started down the course]," he said. "So that’s kind of what I’m all about, just kind of being random. And the Holy Crail is a grab I invented a few months ago, so I really wanted to do it in my run here.”
     
    And it paid off for Kotsenburg as he joins a list of only three other Americans to win the first gold medal awarded in the 22 Winter Olympic Games, and the first American to do so since 1952, when alpine skier Andi Mead-Lawrence triumphed in the women’s giant slalom.

    12 Years Later, Jamaican Bobsledders Return to Winter Games

    You May Like

    Republicans Struggle With Reality of Trump Nomination

    Despite calls for unity by presumptive presidential nominee, analysts see inevitable fragmentation of party ahead of November election and beyond

    Spanish Warrants Point to Russian Govt. Links to Organized Crime

    Links to several Russians, some of them reputedly close Putin associates, backed by ‘very strong evidence,’ Spanish judge says

    Video US Worried Political Chaos in Iraq Will Hurt IS Fight

    Iraq needs stable, central government to push back against Islamic State, US says, but others warn that Baghdad may not have unified front any time soon

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Press Freedom in Myanmar Fragile, Limitedi
    X
    Katie Arnold
    May 04, 2016 12:31 PM
    As Myanmar begins a new era with a democratically elected government, many issues of the past confront the new leadership. Among them is press freedom in a country where journalists have been routinely harassed or jailed.
    Video

    Video Press Freedom in Myanmar Fragile, Limited

    As Myanmar begins a new era with a democratically elected government, many issues of the past confront the new leadership. Among them is press freedom in a country where journalists have been routinely harassed or jailed.
    Video

    Video Taliban Threats Force Messi Fan to Leave Afghanistan

    A young Afghan boy, who recently received autographed shirts and a football from his soccer hero Lionel Messi, has fled his country due to safety concerns. He and his family are now taking refuge in neighboring Pakistan. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from Islamabad.
    Video

    Video Major Rubbish Burning Experiment Captures Destructive Greenhouse Gases

    The world’s first test to capture environmentally harmful carbon dioxide gases from the fumes of burning rubbish took place recently in Oslo, Norway. The successful experiment at the city's main incinerator plant, showcased a method for capturing most of the carbon dioxide. VOA’s Deborah Block has more.
    Video

    Video EU Visa Block Threatens To Derail EU-Turkey Migrant Deal

    Turkish citizens could soon benefit from visa-free travel to Europe as part of the recent deal between the EU and Ankara to stem the flow of refugees. In return, Turkey has pledged to keep the migrants on Turkish soil and crack down on those who are smuggling them. Brussels is set to publish its latest progress report Wednesday — but as Henry Ridgwell reports from London, many EU lawmakers are threatening to veto the deal over human rights concerns.
    Video

    Video Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Ruling

    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Painting Captures President Lincoln Assassination Aftermath

    A newly restored painting captures the moments following President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination in 1865. It was recently unveiled at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, where America’s 16th president was shot. It is the only known painting by an eyewitness that captures the horror of that fateful night. VOA’s Julie Taboh tells us more about the painting and what it took to restore it to its original condition.
    Video

    Video Elephant Summit Results in $5M in Pledges, Presidential Support

    Attended and supported by three African presidents, a three-day anti-poaching summit has concluded in Kenya, resulting in $5 million in pledges and a united message to the world that elephants are worth more alive than dead. The summit culminated at the Nairobi National Park with the largest ivory burn in history. VOA’s Jill Craig attended the summit and has this report about the outcomes.
    Video

    Video Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroad

    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Ethiopia’s Drought Takes Toll on Children

    Ethiopia is dealing with its worst drought in decades, thanks to El Nino weather patterns. An estimated 10 million people urgently need food aid. Six million of them are children, whose development may be compromised without sufficient help, Marthe van der Wolf reports for VOA from the Metahara district.
    Video

    Video Little Havana - a Slice of Cuban Culture in Florida

    Hispanic culture permeates everything in Miami’s Little Havana area: elderly men playing dominoes as they discuss politics, cigar rollers deep at work, or Cuban exiles talking with presidential candidates at a Cuban coffee window. With the recent rapprochement between Cuba and United States, one can only expect stronger ties between South Florida and Cuba.
    Video

    Video California Republicans Weigh Presidential Choices Amid Protests

    Republican presidential candidates have been wooing local party leaders in California, a state that could be decisive in selecting the party's nominee for U.S. president. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports delegates to the California party convention have been evaluating choices, while front-runner Donald Trump drew hundreds of raucous protesters Friday.
    Video

    Video ‘The Lights of Africa’ - Through the Eyes of 54 Artists

    An exhibition bringing together the work of 54 African artists, one from each country, is touring the continent after debuting at COP21 in Paris. Called "Lumières d'Afrique," the show centers on access to electricity and, more figuratively, ideas that enlighten. Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, the exhibition's first stop.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora