On Saturday, snowboarder Red Gerard won the first U.S. medal of the 2018 Winter Olympics in men’s snowboard slopestyle. And what an epic way to win it was.
Red, 17, was in last place heading into the third and final run, but when the pressure was on he performed his best. Check out highlights of his historic run in the video below.
To win, he nailed a clean backside triple-cork 1440 to earn a 87.16 from the judges, putting him in first place. Red also became the youngest U.S. snowboarder to win a medal in the Winter Olympics.
Red’s 5 Ways To Be Better At Snowboarding
Want to learn to snowboard like a gold medalist? In 2014, Boys’ Life asked Red for his tips to help you become a better snowboarder. Here’s what he had to say.
- Go skateboarding. People who skateboard learn snowboarding much faster because they already have the balance down.
- Strap in at home. Strap into your snowboard bindings on the carpet and practice transferring your weight from heel edge to toe edge.
- Watch videos. Google “learn to snowboard” and, well, learn.
- Bend your knees. While riding, keep your knees bent — it helps with your balance.
- Get back up. When you fall on the hill, get right back up.
Red Tells You How To … Jump
“As you jump, try to bring your knees up to your face. Do it first on a flat spot while you’re riding. Just jump and pull your legs up. Imagine you’re an airplane — you go up and then you come down with your landing gear. As you’re coming back down, put your legs out a little more but still keep them bent. Once you get that, try it on a small jump on the hill. As you get better at landing jumps, think about keeping your arms in at your sides.”
Red Tells You How To … Do a 180
“It’s the same thing as the jump except as soon as you jump, you turn 180 degrees in the air and land riding backwards — that’s called riding switch. As you’re coming to the jump, it’s kind of like your whole body winds up. Turn your whole body to the left and then just as you jump use your momentum and turn it the other way. The move is mostly in your hips. So turn your hips when you’re in the air and your arms and shoulders too. Start by practicing the 180 while you’re standing still.”
Red Says … Always Wear a Brain Bucket!
“I definitely always wear a helmet,” Red says. “When I have a helmet on I feel safe. I feel good.” Red says make putting on your helmet part of your routine every time you go snowboarding. Besides protecting your brain from impact and injury, helmets help keep your head warm when it’s really cold and, these days, they’re so lightweight and comfortable, you’ll forget you’re wearing one.