Sage Kotsenburg, Holy Crail, X Games Aspen 2014; Photo: Tyler Tate/T Squared Action Sports
First event, first medal, first slopestyle. It was a night of first for Park City, Utah native Sage Kotsenburg as he on the first gold medal of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games as well as the first gold medal in the inaugural Snowboarding Slopestyle event.
“It was sad not walking in the opening ceremonies last night, but it is worth it now.” said Kotsenburg. “I came here to snowboard first and do my job, so I choose to miss the opening ceremonies and be rested for today. This is unbelievable. To be here with my friends and to bring home a gold medal in a sport that I have loved forever, there are no words to describe this moment.”
Kotsenburg’s route to the finals required an extra stop through the semi finals as he failed to automatically advance into the finals after the first qualifying round. Being in the finals was even a small surprise to Kotsenburg.
Kotsenburg delivered with big style and landing a 1620 Japan Air Mute Grab, known as the Holy Crail. The Holy Crail is a Sage Kotsenburg signature move and was the first time the trick has been landed in slopestyle competition.
“I wasn’t even planning on doing the final Japan 1620 in my run until about three minutes before I rode,” said Kotsenburg. “I had discussed it with my brother right before my run. I generally just make it up as I go. Looks like it all worked out in the end. I am speechless.”
Amid judging controversy, prohibitive favorite Mark McMorris riding with a broken rib, needed second runs to get into the finals and to get onto the podium in third.
“Being here to represent my country and my sport is an amazing feeling,” said McMorris.
Sage Kotsenburg, Gold Medal Snowboarding Slopestyle Sochi Winter Olympics