Dude, I just won the Olympics


AP/Chris Henkel

20 year-old American snowboarder Sage Kotsenburg

The first big American news story about the Olympics has been about another first. The first gold medal awarded in the Winter Olympic Games this year was very likely the raddest medal ever.

Yes, hockey has had some epic, notable medal matches, and swimming has seen its fair share of gold-decorated athletes. But no Olympic podium has ever been graced by a dude who was as stoked as Sage Kotsenburg.

The 20 year-old American snowboarder from Park City, Utah, achieved his first win just over a month ago in California at the Olympic Qualifying event. At Mammoth Mountain in Nothern Cali, Sage got his first win since he was 11 years old. He has always been a guy on his own slopes, travelling, riding, and training just for the love of shreddin’ the gnar. His own style, his own language, and his own mindset – are all visible components to his Slope Style Gold medal win. The young guy headed to the Olympics with the sole intent that he thought it would be good fun. He ended up with a good time and the spotlight on the world stage.

Kotsenburg by nature doesn’t plan too far ahead with much – including which trick he’d do for his Olympic final run. This decision he made three minutes before he dropped in on the ramp. The two runs he had done before left him stoked and confident, and he was in the silver spot before he went for his third and final jump.

Sage defied the other riders thoughts on what tricks would win the judges over. Triples were gold standard – and Kotsenburg took gold without doing even one triple. What put him where he is now is his decision to try something he’d never tried before, and doing that trick in the most perfect place, time, and form imaginable.

Four-and-a-half rotations (1620⁰), while grabbing the back of his board with both hands (Japan) is what the incredibly styled athelete landed to put himself on top. The backside 1620 Japan – called the “Holy Crail” by the man himself, was the first of its’ kind to ever be even attempted in a slopestyle competition. The big win, and rad celebration showed the world a new type of champion – one that tweets “WOW!! I just won the Olympics!!” – minutes after he did just that.

A lot can be observed about modern day competition by looking at the elements of Sage’s win, and the reactions of people all over. A guy who just shows up to hit some sick ramps, nail some sick grabs, and shred with his friends on the US team, lands one of the craziest feats yet.

Athletes in the future can hopefully look back on Sage Kotsenburg, and realize that their grueling four years of hardcore training maybe aren’t all that necessary. Maybe the key is to go out and do what you love every day to the best of your ability, and just go with the flow.