Red Gerard is turning the 2018 Winter Olympics into his backyard.
The 17-year-old snowboarder from Colorado won the first gold medal for the U.S. in Pyeongchang by taking the top podium spot in the men’s slopestyle final on Saturday. The teenager also became the youngest U.S. snowboarder ever to win an Olympic medal, and the youngest snowboarding gold medalist of any nation.
How did that feel?
After miscues in his first two runs in the final, Gerard made his gold-medal case on his final ride by landing a backside triple cork 1440. The judges rewarded him with an 87.16 score that vaulted him into first place ahead of Canada’s Max Parrot and Mark McMorris.
“When that score came up my jaw dropped,” Gerard said, via Team USA. “I was like, this isn’t real. I would have been happy to just land a run, but to land a run and win, it’s crazy.”
After his final run, he was so excited that he could be heard cursing on the NBC broadcast. His joyful expletives even survived the tape delay.
Listed at 5’5 and 116 pounds, Gerard may not cut an imposing figure. But he can sure shred, and might just be one of the largest stars of the 2018 Olympics.
Let’s get to know him!
Gerard started snowboarding when he was 2 years old
Born in Westlake, Ohio in 2000, Gerard began snowboarding at age 2. It was a family move to Colorado, near Breckenridge, that catalyzed his development in the sport. By age 11, he had a sponsorship deal with Burton. The rest is now, officially, history.
Gerard has a BIG family — that is having a lot of fun in Pyeongchang
Red is the sixth of seven children. He has four brothers — Brendan, Creighton, Malachi, and Trevor — and two sisters — Asher and Tieghan. The Gerard squad came to Pyeongchang in full force.
“I said it from Day 1,’’ Brendan Gerard, one of Red’s five older siblings, told ESPN. “The kid was 2 years old when we started him snowboarding. I can recall him falling down the hill at 2 and him dragging ass behind me. Gave it two weeks, and he started moving faster. By 6, it was inevitable he was going to be something huge.’’
Red Gerard celebrates with his family. “I saw a video of them shotgunning beers at 8:30 this morning. I’m pretty sure they’re good.” pic.twitter.com/vdhLG8oDuT— Adam Kilgore (@AdamKilgoreWP) February 11, 2018
One of his sisters is a popular food blogger
Tieghan Gerard is the blogger behind Half Baked Harvest. She started the site in 2012 and published a cookbook in 2017.
20 Minute Caribbean Shrimp Tacos with Roasted Jalapeño Pineapple Salsa Verde. The longest recipe title, for the easiest recipe. So typical me, but these tacos are the best and easiest. The shrimp + salsa are roasted on the same sheet pan, making this a one sheet pan and done kind of recipe. Finish with some avocado and you have the perfect tropical taco. It might be single digits and snowing outside right now, but hey, at least I we these tacos. Full recipe is up on halfbakedharvest.com today (link in profile) #hbhhealthyjanuary #foodandwine #f52grams #buzzfeast #buzzfeast #imsomartha #CLkitchen #tacos #tacotuesday
His family’s backyard is a snowboard park
Gerard can hone his gold-medal skills without leaving his family’s property in Summit County, Colo. Welcome to Red’s Backyard:
But Pyeongchang reminds him more of Cleveland?
It remains unclear how the Pyeongchang Tourism Board feels about this comparison.
“This kind of reminds me more of Cleveland, actually,” Gerard told NBC of Pyeongchang. “There’s so much moisture there. It’s like East Coast-y. It’s really cold air and all that. It’s a lot different. Where we usually compete is up high in the mountains.”
Gerard was inspired by Sage Kotsenburg’s gold medal in 2014
When snowboard slopestyle made its Olympic debut in Sochi, Gerard was watching. The first-ever men’s Olympic final in the event was won by U.S. snowboarder Sage Kotsenburg.
“I was like, this cannot be right,” Gerard recalled last year. “He won, and he was doing some crazy grabs. That’s what really got my mind flowing on style stuff and making snowboarding different, to be honest.”
Gerard isn’t done in Pyeongchang yet
You’re in luck if you want to see Gerard in action again: He is set to compete in big air, a snowboarding event making its Olympic debut in 2018. Men’s qualifying heats in big air are scheduled for Feb. 20 at 7:30 pm ET, with the final on Feb. 23 at 8 p.m. ET.
And he’s still figuring out how BIG of a deal this is
Addressing reporters after his historic win, Gerard admitted that he is still coming to grips with the enormity of the Olympics.