KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia – Sage Kotsenburg of the United States won the first gold medal of the 2014 Olympics on Saturday, soaring to victory in the men's snowboarding slopestyle final.
Kotsenburg had a score of 93.50 to edge Staale Sandbech of Norway. Mark McMorris of Canada, who barely made the finals, took bronze.
Canadian Max Parrot, who topped qualifying on Thursday, missed the podium. He washed out at the end of his first run and his second run wasn't quite crisp enough.
Parrot finished fifth.
Kotsenburg needed to navigate the semifinals early Saturday but seemed to find his stride. He placed second in the semifinals then rolled with a medal on the line. The 20-year-old clasped his hands over his head in disbelief after his score was revealed.
The laid-back kid from Couer d'Alene, Idaho -- nicknamed "second-run Sage" because of his tendency to come through at the last minute -- didn't waste time putting together the run of his life.