By: Katie Percha
The 2018 Winter Olympics are in full swing, and this year’s games are as eventful and historic as ever. From the unified Korean team to the historic landing of the triple axel by the first ever American woman, PyeongChang is witness to events that will never be forgotten, including the slopestyle run of a 17-year-old boy from Colorado.
“I just wanted to land a run, that’s about it.” says Olympic Gold Medalist Red Gerard. Gerard is one of the youngest Olympians, and this year, he was the first American to win a gold.
Being the youngest snowboarding gold medalist ever, Gerard has made waves. Coming from Cleveland, Ohio and Silverthorne, Colorado, his humble beginnings as a backyard snowboarder led him eventually to Olympic success. The New York Times’ Bedel Saget wrote, “Gerard took a riskier approach, deciding to launch himself from one of the secondary ramps, a quarterpipe built on the side of the main ramp, for his second big trick.”
While Gerard is one of the highest-revered athletes in the world now, he is still the typical, all-American teenager. Gerard allegedly slept in the morning of the Olympic competitions, lost his jacket before warm-ups, and swore on live, international television, just like any teen would. Yahoo’s Ross McGuinness said, “perhaps because he is a teenager, he prepared for winning Winter Olympic gold in a rather appropriate fashion – oversleeping after a Netflix binge.”
Gerard is not the only teenager making waves this Olympic season. Chloe Kim, another 17-year-old snowboarder, also won the gold for the US. Kim presented herself as just another laid back teenager, worrying about her eyeliner and tweeting during the competition: “Wish I finished my breakfast sandwich but my stubborn self decided not to and now I’m getting hangry.”
Having such young athletes is a source of inspiration for many of Central’s own athletes as we enter the snow-sport season. Senior Olivia Orr, part of the ski team here at Central, said “It was really cool to see so many younger athletes doing well at such a prestigious competition.” Just as athletes like Shaun White and Marcel Hirscher have inspired Gerard and Kim, they are sure to inspire others, who some day may win gold themselves.