From 17-year-old Chloe Kim, the youngest women to win an Olympic Snowboarding Medal, to Red Gerard, the youngest American to medal in a snowboarding event at the Olympics, 2018 is the year that American snowboarding competitors completely popped off. Jamie Anderson, 27, and the already 2-time gold medalist, Shaun White, also won gold for their incredible performances.
There is something special about snowboarding in the USA, and to learn more about what that is, we can evaluate these athletes individually and how their stories have influenced their gold medal triumphs.
Winning Gold in Women’s slopestyle, Anderson is the first female snowboarder to win more than one Olympic medal. She also won gold at the 2014 Olympics in Sochi where she becomes the first ever women’s Olympic Slope Style Gold Medalist.
Growing up in South Lake Tahoe, she started snowboarding at age 9. Because she was homeschooled, she was able to spend almost every day on the mountain. By the time she was 15, she became the youngest female medalist in the Winter X games earning bronze. Since then, she has won 4 gold medals in the Winter X games and a total of 11 medals overall.
She is one of the most decorated, and one of the best snowboarders in the world. She is well known for giving back to the snowboarding community through camps and non-profits. She does not only live to do good and share her opportunities with others, she lives a healthy and active lifestyle which she promotes on her blog. She does a lot of designing with clothing companies and snowboarding brands such as Gnu and Oakley. Her free spirit, love of the sport, and optimist helped her to “Connect with her lion power and find her feet” at this years Olympics. She has broken her elbow, cracked a rib, broke her collarbone, smashed her pelvis, and ruptured her spleen, some of which injuries she just endured last year. She felt “so happy” about the ability to defend the Gold because she has “gone through so much this year.”
Check out her blog: https://www.jamieandersonsnow.com
Kim is a first-generation American. Her parents are immigrants from South Korea, where the Olympics are being held, and some of her extended family still lives there. She has faced international attention because of her identity as a first-generation Korean American and has essentially become the star of the Olympics this year as well as continuing to prove her status as a breakthrough athlete.
She was born near Long Beach, California and she started snowboarding at 4 years old. At 6, she was on a snowboarding team. She trained in Switzerland when she was 8 until 10 years old. She started training for the Olympics shortly after. In 2016, she was 15 and too young to compete in the Olympics in Sochi, she became the first to win Gold in the Women’s Youth Olympics games. She earned the highest snowboarding score in Youth Olympic games history at the time. She was nominated at the 2016 ESPYS for Best Breakthrough Athlete.
Before she was able to compete in the Olympics, she started off her career at the Winter X Games at 13 years old, earning silver in SuperPipe then Gold the following year. In 2016 at the U.S Snowboarding Grant Prix, she became the first women to land back to back 1080 spins in a snowboarding competition. She scored a perfect 100 points and is believed to be only the second other snowboarder to do so behind Shaun White.
She may be young, but Chloe Kim accomplishes tricks that no other women in her sport can. She scored far higher than any of her competitors in the Halfpipe competition with a 98.25 throwing her back-to-back 1080s. For a young star, she is calm and funny, tweeting about how hungry she was right before her late morning run.
The youngest American to win a Gold medal in a snowboarding event at the Olympics at 17, Red Gerard was born in Ohio. The sixth of seven children in his family, he was snowboarding with his older siblings when he was 2 years old. His family moved to Colorado when he was 7 and built a terrain park in their backyard which they used for constant training.
He competed in amateur competitions until 2015 when he started his pro-circuit, finishing fifth in his Dew Tour slopestyle debut. This combined with his placement in fifth at the U.S Open qualified him for the U.S Snowboard Professional Slopestyle team. He came in fourth at the at this year’s X Games but had his first big win this year winning the U.S Grand Prix in Mammoth. And now he’s an Olympic Gold medalist.
Gerard’s Snowboarding career is still young, but his reputation as a snowboarder has been circulating. Oversleeping the morning of the competition because he was up watching Netflix, Red has an extremely relaxed attitude about it all. His families have been partying the whole time, and they have told media that they have never pushed Red to do anything. Even Red himself told interviewers that he never really cared about the Olympics, only Dew Tour, X-games, and the U.S open, which helped calm his nerves. Although he is extremely proud of his win, he doesn’t even know if he will continue competing in the Olympics when many other snowboarders have more freedom, fun, and make more profit starring in backcountry videos.
The three-time Halfpipe Olympic Medalist probably doesn’t need much explaining. He holds the most X Games Gold medals, most Olympic Gold Medals by a snowboarder, and has won 10 ESPY awards. He is also well known for his skills as a skateboarder and was the first person to compete in both the summer and winter X Games in two different sports.
Born in San Diego California, he was born with a congenital heart defect and had 2 open-heart-surgeries before he was 1.
Following his older brother’s footsteps, he switched from skiing to snowboarding at age 6 and had his first sponsorship at age 7. White has participated in 4 Winter Olympics and won Gold in 2006, 2010, and 2018. He has won a medal at the X Games every year since 2002. His medal count stands at 13 gold, 3 silver, and 2 bronze. He is the first snowboarder to land back to back double corks and has an extensive background of other achievements
Now to mention befriending Tony Hawk, the professional skateboarder, at the age of 9, which helped Shaun turn to pro skateboarding at 17.
Shaun is a 31-year-old athlete who, like Jamie Anderson, and unlike the younger snowboarder, has to deal with the pressure of maintaining success, but he takes it easy and does pretty well.