US Slopestyle Red Gerard snowboarding team confident can continue gold medal streak at 2022 Beijing Olympics
The discipline of slopestyle snowboarding had a relatively short lifespan at the Winter Olympics, having made its debut at the Sochi Games in 2014.
During this time, however, the United States has shown the rest of the world that this event is the Americans’ loser; in 2014, American snowboarder Sage Kostenburg won the very first gold medal offered in the event, and in 2018, Red Gerard defended his country’s position atop the podium, becoming the youngest American at 17 to win a medal in a snowboarding event at the Olympic Games.
It was the same with the women. Slopestyle veteran Jamie Anderson has won gold in the event both times, in Sochi 2014 and Pyeongchang 2018. She returns in 2022 to try to triple in Beijing.
At the Beijing 2022 Virtual Team USA Media Summit on Monday, Gerard was confident that the US slopestyle team could win gold for the third time in a row at the 2022 Games in February.
“I feel great on the US slopestyle team right now,” said Gerard. The 21-year-old has just returned from Team USA’s training camp in Saas-Fee, Switzerland, and said he was “amazed” at the progress of his teammates over the past few years.
“Everyone learns new things. Two years ago it was cool to see 1440s; now it looks like the 1620s are regular and everyone is doing them, ”said Gerard.
The US team travels to Europe around this time each season for training camp, clearing the snow before returning to the official training site at Copper Mountain in Colo. Later in the winter.
Meanwhile, athletes who don’t have to fly around the world to access the excellent conditions offered by the glaciers of Europe have a head start on the United States, and Gerard admits that is sometimes obvious in training camp, where the United States does not. always have the “right stuff” composed before training camp begins.
“But when it comes to competing, we get by,” said Gerard.
However, this training camp the US team was made up, doing the sort of very technical stuff – like a 1620 (four and a half spins), which is usually paired with multiple off-axis flips, or “corks”, – that lead to gold medals.
“Everyone brought their A game,” said Gerard.
Even though the United States reached the top of the slopestyle snowboarding podium at each of the two Olympics they have appeared in, the team has not been as dominant in other world competitions.
At the X Games, for example, it had been 12 years since an American snowboarder won gold in men’s slopestyle – since Shaun White did at the 2009 X Games Aspen – before the American team rider. ski and snowboarder Dusty Henricksen, who competed in his first X Games. , broke the streak.
Henricksen and fellow American Brock Crouch, 22, join Gerard as an athlete to watch when it comes to winning men’s gold in Beijing, but they will have plenty of international competition.
Canadian heavy hitters Darcy Sharpe (2020 Aspen Gold), Max Parrot (2020 Norway Gold) and Mark McMorris (2019 Aspen Gold) were all absent from the 2021 X Games. McMorris won bronze at the Sochi 2014 Games. and Pyeongchang 2018, and Parrot won silver at the latter.
Canadian compatriots Sébastien Toutant and Darcy Sharpe, as well as Norwegians Ståle Sandbech and Markus Kleveland, also threaten the podium.
Among women, Anderson’s biggest competition also comes from Canada, in 2018 silver medalist Laurie Blouin, as well as New Zealander Zoi Sadowski Synnott and Austria’s Anna Gasser.
The Winter Olympics will kick off with the Opening Ceremony on February 4, 2022. The Women’s Slopestyle Final will be on Sunday February 6 and the Men’s Final will be held the next day.