Earlier this week, the US took home the first gold medal of the games when Sage Kotsenburg won the men’s slopestyle event. Today, Jamie Anderson did the same for the women’s event.
Both athletes made history in their respective competitions, as the slopestyle event is brand-new this year. Kotsenburg defeated Canadian Mark McMorris, who was the favorite for the event, after McMorris made costly errors on the first of his two runs. Anderson was the favorite to win her event, but was troubled by a disappointing second-place finish at the X Games. She bounced back despite the pressure of being the favorite, and came through to help Team USA sweep the gold medal podium in the new event.
All this comes just days after the controversy over the slopestyle course – several athletes suffered varying degrees of injury during training, and American snowboarding superstar Shaun White bowed out of the event, not wanting to risk suffering a worse injury and not being able to compete in the halfpipe competition. Many were worried that this troubled beginning for the event would not bode well for its future in the Games.
Though the event was clouded by these concerns, Team USA came through to show the world just how exciting the new event can be. Their superb performances made history in more ways than one, and they set a standard in the event that will undoubtedly be hard to match in the coming years.