American Joss Christensen Flawless in Men's Freeski Slopestyle, Wins Olympic Gold Medal
In the end, Joss Christensen could only throw his head back and smile. He watched as 11 competitors rode their second and final run of the Slopestyle finals, and one after another, they couldn’t match him. His first run, highlighted by a beautiful switch triple cork 1260 – the only of the competition – resulted in an insurmountable score (95.80). Big name after big name tried, but failed. And the last skier standing, the one who would get the victory lap, was the one who almost didn’t even make the trip to Sochi.
Christensen, 22, was the last addition to the USA freeski Slopestyle team, selected by the coaches. His selection was a mildly controversial one, since he was picked over better-known skiers. But on Day 7 of the Winter Olympics, Christensen proved that he belonged. After the eleventh skier had dropped and his score was read, the gold belonged to Christensen. He could have coasted down the course and received his winner’s welcoming that way, but instead, he laid down another run that would have been good enough for silver. Each of his four runs between qualifiers and finals scored in the 90s.
What made the experience all that more fulfilling was that Christensen would be up on the podium with two friends, two fellow Americans – Gus Kenworthy (silver) and Nick Goepper (bronze). It was the third sweep by the U.S. in Winter Olympic history.
“I am shocked,” Christensen said. “I am stoked to be up here with my friends. America, we did it.”
The support and excitement for Christensen poured in across social media. Clearly no one wanted to wait for primetime to see who won:
From Grete Eliassen: “Congratulations @josschristensen In honor of your win I’m going to sleep in, play video games and be nice to every person I see today.”
From close friend Alex Schlopy (you WANT to see the photo he posted): This is @josschristensen … Also OLYMPIC GOLD MEDALIST!!! You are the king my friend. Nobody deserves this more than you!!!! Love you homie I’m in tears!!!!
From Tom Wallisch (it was between Joss and Tom for the final Team USA spot): This homie… Right here… Just won the Olympics. He is by far the coolest, most talented, most fun, and most deserving people I ski with all season. Love you buddy! Congrats! @4bi9media #allgold #bringmeabeer @irideparkcity
From Simon Dumont: @josschristensen you are an animal. That’s what I call a victory run.
From Kaya Turski: Amazing @josschristensen taking home the win!1of the sweetest kids in the game.Enjoy this one
It hasn’t been an easy road for Christensen. Aside from being the final coaches selection, Joss had to travel the road to Sochi without his greatest supporter and the man who first sparked his love for skiing: his father, JD, who passed away in August. Christensen got the news while in New Zealand to compete for a World Cup event.
“I hope I made my father proud today,” said Christensen, who flew to Russia carrying his dad’s picture in his pocket and held it up as he walked in to Fisht Olympic Stadium for the opening ceremony, according to ESPN. “He’s been supporting me from day one through all the injuries, which I know scare parents a lot. He always supported me and he never said ‘stop.’ I wish he was here. But I hope he’s looking down and smiling. I hope I made him proud. I did it for him.”
FINAL MEN’S FREESKI SLOPESTYLE RESULTS
Gold: Joss Christensen (USA) – 95.80
Silver: Gus Kenworthy (USA) – 93.60
Bronze: Nick Goepper (USA) – 92.40