- By Bob D’Angelo, Cox Media Group National Content Desk
Red Gerard seemed to be an afterthought heading into Sunday’s final run of men’s slopestyle at the 2018 Winter Olympics, ranked 11th out of the 12 finalists. Instead, the diminutive 17-year-old from Silverthorne, Colorado, delivered a sparkling effort, scoring 87.16 points to edge Canadians Max Parrot and Mark McMorris to win the gold medal. It was the United States’ first gold medal of the Pyeongchang Olympics.
So who is this guy?
Redmond Gerard stands barely 5 feet, 5 inches tall and weighs 117 pounds. He was born in Cleveland, Ohio, on June 29, 2000. He is the sixth of seven children; he has four brothers and two sisters. One of his sisters, Tieghan Gerard, has blogged about food in Half Baked Harvest since 2012. In September she published “Halfbaked Harvest Cookbook: Recipes from My Barn in the Mountains.”
Tieghan and the rest of her siblings, along with her parents, are in South Korea for the Olympics.
According to The Denver Post, Gerard showed up in South Korea like “an accidental tourist,” insisting that “I honestly don’t know what the Olympics is.”
His father, Conrad Gerard, misplaced a ticket to his son’s final run but managed to talk his way into the grandstands.
“I was jerking around with tickets. What can you say?” Conrad Gerard told the Post. “So what if I missed the first run, which I did. I just got here a little late. But I saw what counted. And it was surreal. I mean, are you kidding me? My son just won an Olympic gold medal.”
Red Gerard’s gold-medal run included a backslide triple cork 1440 that wowed the judges.
It was culmination of a career that began when he was 2 years old. When his family moved to Colorado, Gerard’s career took off. He had a sponsorship deal by the time he was 11, the Post reported.
His family built a snowboard park in his backyard, but it was Sage Kotsenburg’s gold-medal winning effort in the men’s snowboard slopestyle final at the 2014 Sochi Olympic Games that proved to be Gerard’s biggest inspiration.
“I was like, this can not be right,” he told NBC Sports in 2017. “He won, and he was doing some crazy grabs. That’s what really got my mind flowing on style stuff and making snowboarding different, to be honest.”
Gerard isn’t finished competing yet. He will be in action Feb. 20 in the qualifying round for the Big Air snowboarding competition, which is making its Olympic debut. If he gets to the final, Gerard will compete for a medal on Feb. 23.