PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 11: Gold medalist Redmond Gerard of the United States poses on the podium during the Medal Ceremony for the Men's Snowboard Slopestyle on day two of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Medal Plaza on February 11, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Andreas Rentz/Getty Images)
Bob D’Angelo, Cox Media Group National Content Desk
Red Gerard seemed to be an afterthought heading into Sunday’s final run of men’s slopestyle at the 2018 Winter Olympics, ranked 11th out of the 12 finalists. Instead, the diminutive 17-year-old from Silverthorne, Colorado, delivered a sparkling effort, scoring 87.16 points to edge Canadians Max Parrot and Mark McMorris to win the gold medal. It was the United States’ first gold medal of the Pyeongchang Olympics.
His father, Conrad Gerard, misplaced a ticket to his son’s final run but managed to talk his way into the grandstands.
“I was jerking around with tickets. What can you say?” Conrad Gerard told the Post. “So what if I missed the first run, which I did. I just got here a little late. But I saw what counted. And it was surreal. I mean, are you kidding me? My son just won an Olympic gold medal.”
His family built a snowboard park in his backyard, but it was Sage Kotsenburg’s gold-medal winning effort in the men’s snowboard slopestyle final at the 2014 Sochi Olympic Games that proved to be Gerard’s biggest inspiration.
“I was like, this can not be right,” he told NBC Sports in 2017. “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 finished competing yet. He will be in action Feb. 20 in the qualifying round for the Big Air snowboarding competition, which is making its Olympic debut. If he gets to the final, Gerard will compete for a medal on Feb. 23.