Team USA started Thursday in Sochi with a bang by sweeping the podium in the first Olympic final of Men's Ski Slopestyle.
It was believed all four Americans had a chance to medal in slopestyle, but the final order was slightly less predictable. Joss Christensen claimed gold with a score of 95.80 on his first run, the highest finish of his career -- eclipsing his sixth place finish in the 2014 X Games in Aspen. The 22-year-old skier saved his best for the brightest world stage; his win didn't come down to one run, unlike other events at the Rosa Khutor Extreme park. Christensen claimed the competition throughout the day and his second run of 93.80 would have been enough to claim gold in its own right.
Event-favorite Nicholas Goepper had momentum entering the Winter Olympics after winning the 2014 and 2013 X Games and finishing first in the FIS World Cup, but was forced to settle for bronze with a first round score of 92.40. Chasing Christensen's first run prompted skiers to try and go big, and Goepper couldn't match with a second run of 61.80.
Gus Kenworthy claimed silver with a clutch second run of 93.60 that erased a poor score of 31.00 he was awarded in the first trip down the mountain when he crashed. This was the best finish of his career in the event, failing to make the podium at the X Games in each of the last two years.
Thursday's win means Team USA has claimed three of four possible gold medals in slopestyle between the men's and women's snowboard and ski events. You can find the fulls results from Thursday here, but these are your top five finishers.
We added gold, silver, and bronze to Kenworthy's puppies:
More on the Winter Olympics:
• SB Nation's Winter Olympics medal tracker | Meet Team USA
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• What you need to know about curling | Bobsled, luge and skeleton
• Miracle Put on Ice: 1984 US hockey team never had a chance
• Hockey: Men’s schedule | All 12 men’s rosters | USA roster analysis