First Gold Medal Goes To An American

NPR | Feb. 8, 2014 10:59 a.m.

Contributed By:

Tamara Keith

United States' Sage Kotsenburg takes a jump during the men's snowboard slopestyle final at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park, at the 2014 Winter Olympics, on Saturday.

United States' Sage Kotsenburg takes a jump during the men's snowboard slopestyle final at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park, at the 2014 Winter Olympics, on Saturday.

AP, Sergei Grits

Slopestyle snowboarder Sage Kotsenburg has won the first gold medal in the Sochi Olympics. Kotsenburg, 20, is from Park City, UT.

If you’ve never heard of Slopestyle before, you probably haven’t been following the Winter X Games. The extreme snow sport features rail sliding and big jumps with twists and flips, sort of like half pipe meets skate park. Slopestyle made its Olympic debut at these games, and the finals went off without a hitch, after early controversy over the safety of the course.

The world’s best-known snowboarder, Shaun White, dropped out before the competition began citing an injury and concerns about the course. The boarder, who in the weeks leading up to the games was favored for gold, Canada’s Mark McMorris, won the bronze. He was still recovering from a rib injury suffered in an earlier competition. Silver went to Norway’s Staale Sandbech.

American Women Dominate in First Hockey Match-Up:

It took less than a minute for the American women’s ice hockey team to score a goal. Hilary Knight scored the first of three goals wracked up by the American women in their match against Finland. The final score was 3-1 with Kelli Stack and Alex Carpenter also making goals.

This game is part of the early qualifying round. The women’s next match is Monday against Switzerland. Then it’s on to Canada, the American women’s fiercest rival. The two teams have met numerous times over the past year and know one another well. They’ve even gotten into a couple of fights on the ice that made them minor YouTube sensations. Unless something unexpected happens (and that’s always possible in sports), the gold medal match on February is likely to bring the American and Canadian women together on the ice again.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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