Sochi Olympics: Who Won the First Gold Medals?
by Sadie Gennis
[WARNING: The follow story contains Saturday's results of the Winter Olympics. Read at your own risk.]
U.S. snowboarder Sage Kotsenburg won the first gold medal of the Sochi Olympics in men’s slopestyle Saturday.
“I can’t even describe the feeling,” the 20-year old told The Associated Press. “It’s so cool.”
This is the fourth time in Winter Olympics history and the first since 1952 that the U.S. has won the first gold medal of the Games. Kotsenburg’s winning run included a complex new trick he had never before done, the backside 1620 Japan, which features four-and-a-half rotations, grabbing the back of his board and flexing his legs behind his back.
“I kind of do random stuff all the time, never make a plan up,” Kotsenburg said. “I had no idea I was even going to do a 1620 in my run until three minutes before I dropped. It’s kind of what I’m all about.”
In the best-of-two format, Kotsenburg’s first run score of 93.50 held up the rest of the way. Staale Sandbech of Norway took the silver with a 91.75. Gold medal favorite Mark McMorris of Canada earned the bronze with a 88.75.
In the ladies’ cross-country skiathlon, Norway’s Marit Bjoergen won her fourth gold medal, finishing at 38:33.6. (This could be the first of six possible golds Bjoergen could win in Sochi.) Norway also scored a bronze with Heidi Weng’s 38:46.8 finish. Sweden’s Charlotte Kalla won the silver in 38:35.4.
Norway added a second gold medal in the men’s 10-kilometer sprint when biathlete Ole Einar Bjoerndalen grabbed his seventh career gold medal in 24:33.5. It’s his 12th medal overall, tying the record for most Winter Olympic medals held by his countryman, cross-country skier Bjoern Daehlie. At 40, Bjoerndalen is the oldest Olympic champion in an individual event. Austria’s Dominik Landertinger and the Czech Republic’s Jaroslav Soukup were second and third in 24:34.8 and 24:39.2, respectively.
In speed skating, the Netherlands swept the podium in the men’s 5,000 meters. Sven Kramer, who won the gold in Vancouver, set an Olympic record with a 6:10.76 finish. Jan Blokhuijsen followed in 6:15.71, then Jorrit Bergsma in 6:16.66.
Canada’s Justine Dufour-Lapointe won gold in the women’s moguls, with her sister Chloe Dufour-Lapointe taking second. Their older sister Maxime came in 12th place.
American Hannah Kearney, the Vancouver gold medalist and heavy favorite, ended up with the bronze. Kearney was aiming to become the first freestyle skier to repeat as Olympic champion.
What did you think of the first day of competition?