KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia (AP) — A look at the three Americans who led the third U.S. podium sweep in Winter Olympics history with victory Thursday in men’s slopestyle skiing.
JOSS CHRISTENSEN (Gold)
Hometown: Park City, Utah
Notes: Christensen was a somewhat controversial pick to the first U.S. Olympic slopestyle team. He wasn’t added until after winning the final qualifying event less than two weeks before the games.
Christensen has faced a series of setbacks in recent years, including the loss of his father J.D. in August and microfracture surgery in his knee at the end of 2012. A graduate of the Winter Sports School in Park City, Christensen hadn’t placed higher than sixth in the X Games, yet was nearly flawless Thursday. His scores in the finals would have been good enough to win gold and silver.
GUS KENWORTHY (Silver)
Hometown: Telluride, Colo.
Notes: Kenworthy is a dual-threat in freestyle skiing, splitting his time between slopestyle and halfpipe. He has a string of podium finishes in his career, but wasn’t exactly hot coming to Sochi. He finished fifth at the X Games in Aspen last month.
Before Thursday, the biggest news he’d made recently was with his plan to adopt a family of stray dogs he found roaming the streets of Sochi in hopes of bringing them back to the U.S.
NICK GOEPPER (Bronze)
Hometown: Lawrenceburg, Ind.
Notes: The gold medal favorite coming in, Goepper began skiing on a 300-foot hill near his hometown in southeastern Indiana. Has a signature trick called the “Screamin’ Seaman” – a two-flip, 3 1/2 twist jump while crossing skis and grabbing one. He pulled it off in the finals, but his run wasn’t quite clean enough to beat Christensen.