Christensen leads America's sweep with maiden gold

Christensen leads America's sweep with maiden gold

Joss Christensen led a US podium sweep in spectacular fashion to win the first Olympic gold medal in men's slopestyle skiing at the Sochi Games on Thursday.

Another bumper crowd at Extreme Park were treated to a thrilling display of acrobatics as the freestyle skiers pushed their routines to the limits against a backdrop of snow-capped mountains and blue skies. Christensen led the pack after qualifying and his 95.80 on his opening run of the final, which he capped with a stunning switch triple-corked 1440, assured him of the title even before his second attempt.

Reflecting the have-a-go spirit of the sport, though, the 22-year-old nailed another spectacular flurry of flips, spins and tricks for a score of 93.80, which would have been enough for gold in itself.

"I can't really believe it right now, this is pretty crazy. It has been just an amazing day. I am shocked. I am stoked to be up here with my friends. America, we did it!" said Christensen.

Gus Kenworthy took silver with a score of 93.60 on his second run after falling in his first, while teenager Nick Goepper, the pre-competition favourite, settled for bronze with 92.40.

Despite being encumbered by all their gear, the beaming minor medallists managed to lift Christensen into the air on an improvised chair to celebrate only the third US podium sweep at the Winter Olympics.

"I am so stoked about an American one-two-three. Nick is always the guy to kind of beat in a contest, he is so consistent and so incredible and Joss is really killing it right now. He is one of my best friends and I am stoked,” said Kenworthy.

Goepper, who won the last two X-Games titles in slopestyle, reflected a general consensus that the skiers had taken the sport to a whole new level in Sochi.

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