Sochi, Russian Federation (4E Sports) – USA’s Joss Christensen scored 95.80 to win gold at the men’s slopestyle skiing event at Sochi Olympics with teammates Gus Kenworthy and Nick Goepper taking the silver and bronze, respectively.
The sweep is the third for the U.S. in Winter Olympic history, joining men’s figure skating in 1956 and men’s halfpipe snowboarding in 2002.
Christensen, a 22-year-old from Park City, Utah, posted three of the top four scores of the day at Rosa Khutor Extreme Park .
His highest score came in his first run in the finals when he landed a switch triple 1440 jump, a trick he only learned and then decided to insert into his run two days ago during practice.
“I knew once I learned it I had to put it in my run if I wanted a chance to make it on the podium,” Christensen said.
American skiers and coaches considered Christensen to be the favorite, based on the way he was performing in practice.
“He’s pretty much landed it every time, and he’s got really good rotation and style,” U.S. freeskiing coach Skogen Sprang said. “I think he was kind of the rider’s favorite today, just based on the practices.”
Teammate Bobby Brown predicted that Christensen would be “unbeatable” in the final based on his two qualifying runs Thursday morning.
Kenworthy, from Telluride, Colo., blew his first run, scoring just 31.00, landing him 10th out of the 12 competitors. But he battled back, scoring a 93.60 and a silver medal on his second run.
Goepper, the gold medal favorite from Lawrenceburg, Ind., dropped a 92.40 during his first finals run but couldn’t top it in the second.
He smacked his skis against the second rail feature, ending his chance of leapfrogging Christensen.
Besides the three medalists, Brown also made the final and finished ninth.