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Kotsenburg Land”™s First Gold For US
Posted by Rudy Martinez on Feb 9, 2014 - 10:18:50 AM

American Sage Kotsenburg celebrating gold medal in Men's Snowboarding Slopestyle event.
America’s first gold medal was captured in stunning fashion. A 1620 Japan grab performed by Sage Kotsenburg helped him win the gold medal in Men’s Snowboarding Slopestyle on Saturday. The 20-year-old from Coeur D’Alene, Idaho put on a near perfect first run in the finals with a score of 93.50, beating Canada’s Mark McMorris who settled for bronze.


Shaun White was out of competition after injuring his hand during practice runs that were considered a part of a dangerous course, which was later improved and gave all the competitors a better chance at victory. The Americans had their hopes in Kotsenburg who won the silver in the same event at the X-Games in Aspen last year. He barely made it into the finals after pulling off his signature move dubbed “The Holy Grail,” where a flawed landing nearly dashed his chances.


McMorris had the same trouble early after scoring a 55.50 in his first run, moving into third with an 89.25 in his second during the semis. The two-time X-Games gold medalist in the event was the one to beat, as his triple cork had a style that could break ahead. In the final, the Canadian pulled off a combination of two triple corks and a 1080 double cork to put up the best run with an 88.75. The Regina, Saskatchewan native who broke a rib two weeks ago showed tremendous power in moving closer to medaling in the Olympics.


Kotsenburg had enough under his sleeve to overtake McMorris on the slope, as he came out into his first of three jumps with a front side 1260, side grab 1260 and a massive 1620 Japan grab which involved grabbing the front of the snowboard and holding it through the revolutions.


His landing sealed the run as he scored a 93.50 to move into first place.  “I never even tried the trick on the bottom jump. I just whipped it out of the bag right there and did a 1620 Japan and I landed,” said Kotsenburg. “I was like, what just happened, I blacked out in the air and I didn’t even know what would happen and can’t even believe this is going on right now. It’s pretty surreal for this all to happen.”


Norway’s Staale Sandbech was the last major hurdle for Kotsenburg to hold off, as the Norwegian took off on his board with a clean run that took him out of 11th and into second place to secure the silver with a 91.75. It was his first Olympic medal, and beating the defending champion down to bronze was a shocker to all. McMorris was happy enough to secure the bronze in the event’s debut to winter sports. “I can’t even explain what I’ve been through to get back on to my snowboard,” said McMorris. “For one I broke my rib less than two weeks ago and just to podium at the biggest sporting event in the world”¦.I am a ball of emotions.” 


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