U.S. skiers sweep mens slopestyle competition

The first-ever men's slopestyle ski final featured soft snow, huge air and three medals for the U.S.
By Brooks   |   Updated Feb. 13, 2014 at 11:52 AM
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SOCHI, Russia, Feb. 13 (UPI) -- For just the third time in the history of the Winter Olympics, Americans took all three podium spots at an event.

In the first-ever men's slopestyle ski final, and Americans Joss Christensen, Gus Kenworthy and Nick Goepper took the gold, silver and bronze medals respectively.

In 1956, the Americans swept the men’s figure skating final and, in 2002, the Team USA dominated the men’s snowboard halfpipe event.

Christensen, a Park City, Utah, native, was the last skier to be chosen for the Olympic team -- a discretionary selection by coaches. That decision looked pretty smart today, as Christensen only needed his first run to post the high score of the day -- a run that featured a flawless switch triple-cork 1440. (That's four complete rotations and three flips.) None of the other 11 skiers could match his 95.8 points.

The triple-cork was a move he learned just two days ago. "I knew once I learned it I had to put it in my run," he told the Denver Post.

The Rosa Khutor Extreme Park slopestyle course in Sochi, Russia, featured especially soft snow, thanks to warmer temperatures. The cushier landing gave competitors the confidence to try and land some of the biggest moves the sport has ever seen. All three medal-winners said they thought they'd completed the best competitive runs of their careers.

Bronze medalist Goepper was the favorite to take gold coming into the inaugural event, but was still thrilled to share the podium with his compatriots. He tweeted so afterward.

[Denver Post]

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