By Matt Kroschel

SILVERTHORNE, Colo. (CBS4)– Colorado and the nation are celebrating the first gold medal won for the U.S. in the Winter Olympics. The celebration is serious business, so serious that the name of the teenager’s hometown has been changed to reflect the victory.

Someone covered up the Silverthorne welcome sign to read “Goldthorne” instead. The sign is an instant hit.

(credit: CBS)

Town leaders are not only leaving up the sign, but changing some other ones around town.

Red Gerard, 17, grabbed the gold medal in the men’s slopestyle snowboarding event this weekend. Not bad for a kid who grew up riding rails and ramps that he built in the backyard.

(credit: CBS)

“To finally be here and realize all this and the huge stadiums and all the people watching and all that. I think I’m starting to get how big the Olympics is,” Gerard said.

Gold medalist Redmond Gerard of the United States celebrates on the podium during the Medal Ceremony for the Men’s Snowboard Slopestyle on day two of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games. (credit: Dan Istitene/Getty Images)

A parade or similar celebration is planned for his return.

Gerard attended Frisco Elementary School and Summit Middle School before leaving public school for another private schooling option to give him more time and flexibility for training and competition.

Reached by phone Monday, Gerard’s elementary school principal said she always knew he would go far.

(credit: CBS)

At the town’s welcome sign Monday, a steady stream of camera holding Olympic fans walked up to take pictures.

“We watched him win on TV and to be here in his town is special, we had to stop and take a picture with the sign,” one traveler said as they took photos of the “Goldthorne” sign Monday.

Matt Kroschel covers news throughout Colorado working from the CBS4 Mountain Newsroom. Send story ideas to mrkroschel@cbs.com and connect with him on Twitter @Matt_Kroschel.

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