Joss Christensen led an American sweep in the first-ever men's slopestyle final, capturing a fantastic victory in the freestyle skiing event at the 2014 Winter Olympics.
The inaugural Sochi contest served up a result of complete success for Team USA, who also saw Gus Kenworthy and Nick Goepper capture silver and bronze, respectively.
Let's take a look at the full results.
|5.||James Woods||Great Britain||86.60|
|11.||Josiah Wells||New Zealand||60.60|
Christensen served up a masterclass on his way to gold and captured glory with his first-run score of 95.80. As the last rider to take flight, he embarked on a lap of honour during his second attempt. Remarkably, his 93.80 would have also ended in triumph.
Following his gold medal victory, Sage Kotsenburg, himself a gold medalist in snowboarding's slopestyle event, congratulated Christensen (via CNN's New Day on Instagram):
Kenworthy came closest to challenging his teammate's lead and posted a second run of 93.60. He struggled through his opening descent, scoring just 31.00 after taking a tumble.
Goepper was a little more consistent but less spectacular overall. His initial 92.40 took the pressure off and allowed the 19-year-old to try to improve his score with the knowledge he was likely to gain a medal.
He failed to gain speed during the second run and couldn't improve with a score of 61.80, but that hardly mattered in the end. Goepper appeared jovial before the event, as noted by his Twitter post prior to qualifying:
GAMETIME! pic.twitter.com/j2q7yYOJhh— Nick Goepper (@NickGoepper) February 13, 2014
Norwegian Andreas Haatveit was the highest non-American finisher in fourth. His score of 91.80 just missed out on a medal, while Great Britain's James Woods did excellently to end the competition in fifth—especially considering his recent hip injury—as noted by BBC Sport commentator Graham Bell:
Just spoke to Pat Sharples @JamesWoodsy skied the best he could have skied. Considering last night they were thinking of pulling out.— Graham Bell (@skigrahambell) February 13, 2014
Sweden's Henrik Harlaut, Norway's Aleksander Aurdal and Australia's Russ Henshaw made up the rest of the top eight, while Bobby Brown ended as Team USA's lowest finalist in ninth.
Luckily, every rider escaped the course without injury. Heavy falls plagued the women's final—highlighted by Yuki Tsubota's terrifying crash and subsequent broken jaw, per Christopher Elser of Bloomberg—but there were no such causes for concern in the men's contest.
Christensen's victory adds a fourth gold to USA's Winter Olympics output, the team's first in skiing. It builds upon the dominance shown by Kaitlyn Farrington in the women's snowboarding halfpipe event and helps the nation get over a difficult ice hockey defeat to Canada on Day 5.
With plenty of medals still up for grabs, the all-American top three is the kind of result that can inspire the country's remaining competitors toward victory.
While Shaun White disappointed on the halfpipe, Christensen's triumph provides a moment of history in a freestyle skiing discipline that continues to advance at an extreme pace.