By CBS4 Producer Robin Clutters
DENVER (CBS4)– Silverthorne’s very own golden boy, Red Gerard, is back in the United States. Last weekend, he earned the gold in the men’s snowboarding slopestyle competition.
Not only was it Team USA’s first medal of the game, but the 17-year-old became the youngest Olympic snowboarding champion in history. But the Olympics weren’t always in his sights.
“I grew up watching other snowboard competitions like the Dew Tour, X Games, and U.S. Open,” Gerard told Gayle King, Norah O’Donnell, and John Dickerson on CBS This Morning. “I didn’t really know what the Olympics were until about four years ago.”
Gerard certainly knows what the Olympics are now. But the road to the gold wasn’t easy. In fact, Gerard says he almost didn’t make it to Phoenix Snow Park in Pyeongchang in time for the slopestyle competition on Feb.10.
“We were staying pretty far away from the mountain, so it’s like an hour bus ride up there and you have to wake up so early,” Gerard said. “I’m not used to waking up early at all.”
Gerard made it in time. But then he couldn’t find his jacket.
“I had to borrow my roommate Kyle Mack’s jacket,” Gerard said. “His jacket is a little bigger. I had to cinch it up at the bottom. It was a mess of a morning.”
Gerard first strapped on a snowboard at the age of two while living in Ohio. His family then moved to Silverthorne.
“I remember when we moved out to Colorado I was struggling. The mountains were so big and I wasn’t really prepared or used to it all,” Gerard says. “After a week, I slowly started getting better and I realized it’s quite the fun [sport].”
Since then, Gerard has perfected his skills riding rails and ramps he built in his backyard. Silverthorne loves supporting its local hero, even changing the town sign to “Goldthorne” after his win. Plans are already in the works for a parade in honor of Gerard and the other local Olympic athletes. Gerard is just taking his newfound fame in stride.
“I’m living my dream. I try to have as much fun as I can and I travel around the world doing what I love.”
Gerard has a chance to win another medal at the Olympics. He is on his way back to South Korea now so he can compete in the men’s Big Air qualifying round Feb. 21.
By Robin Clutters