Snowboarders win gold for Team USA

Jamie Anderson, of the United States, celebrates winning gold after the women’s slopestyle final at Phoenix Snow Park at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Monday. Associated Press

By Max Calderone | Sports Writer

After five days of competition, Team USA has picked up six medals including three gold, one silver and two bronze at the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea.

Teenage snowboarding phenom Chloe Kim brought home her first Olympic gold medal for Team USA in the women’s halfpipe with a near-perfect score of 98.25. At just 17-years old, Kim has already won three X Games gold medals and was considered the heavy favorite to win her event in the Olympics.

American Arielle Gold also medaled, placing third behind China’s Jiayu Liu to earn the bronze. Team USA’s Kelly Clark just missed the podium, finishing in fourth, over two full points behind teammate gold.

17-year-old freestyle snowboarder Red Gerard won the United States’ first medal of the 2018 games in men’s slopestyle. He landed a score of 87.16 on his third and final run to win gold. Canadians Max Parrot and Mark McMorris took silver and bronze.

Gerard told reporters he didn’t feel any pressure leading up to his last run, but that he mostly just wanted to land a clean run before ending his Olympic journey.

“It was more of I just wanted to land a run,” Gerard told NBC. “It would have been pretty crappy to fly all the way out here and not land three runs.”

His backside triple cork 1440 was the clincher, making Gerard the youngest male athlete to win a Winter Olympics gold medal since 1928.

U.S. freestyle snowboarder Jamie Anderson also picked up a gold medal win, defending her title in women’s slopestyle with a score of 83.00. This is her second-career gold medal, after winning the same event in Sochi, Russia in 2014. Anderson placed ahead of Canada’s Laurie Blouin and Finland’s Enni Rukajarvi.

Among other results, Team USA’s Chris Mazdzer brought home a silver medal in men’s luge. He finished with a time of three minutes and 10.728 seconds, just two hundredths of a second behind Austrian first-place finisher David Gleirscher. Germany’s Felix Loch, the favorite in the event, did not make the podium with a time of 3:10.968.

Team USA also earned bronze in figure skating’s team event, thanks in part to strong contributions from Mirai Nagasu (ladies’ free skate), Adam Rippon (men’s free skate) and the brother-sister duo of Maia and Alex Shibutani (short dance, free dance).

Nagasu made history as the first American female skater to land a triple axel jump in the Olympics. She finished second in her category. Rippon placed third in the men’s free skate and the Shibutanis took second in the free dance.

“I’ve really enjoyed watching the Olympics,” Cypress junior Jessica Bateman said. “My favorite so far has been the figure skating, especially the team events.”

The team figure skating is made up of seven events – the men’s short program and free skate, ladies’ short program and free skate, pairs’ short program and free skate, and pairs’ free dance. Teams earn points based on their competitors rank in each category, with 10 points for a category win, nine for second, eight for third and so on. Canada won gold with 55 points, the delegation of Olympic Athletes from Russia took silver with 48 and Team USA won bronze with 44 points.

Coming up next for Team USA will be snowboarder Shaun White competing in the men’s halfpipe. Later in this year’s games, other big-name American athletes will take center stage including skiers Lindsey Vonn, Gus Kenworthy and Mikaela Shifrin.

The 2018 Winter Olympics continue through Feb. 25. Events can be watched on NBC’s family of networks.