Winter Olympics 2018: First gold for Red as Kramer makes history

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Red Gerard

Pyeongchang, February 11: As teenager Red Gerard wrote the first entry in his Olympic story with the United States' maiden gold medal in Pyeongchang, Sven Kramer added another chapter to his legend.

With his victory in the men's slopestyle, 17-year-old snowboarder Gerard became the youngest champion at a Games since Finn Toni Nieminen won the ski jumping aged 16 in 1992.

His triumph came amid gusty conditions in South Korea that eventually led to the cancellation of the men's downhill and the ladies' slopestyle.

The weather was of no concern to Kramer indoors at the Gangneug Oval, though, as 5000 metres glory in an Olympic record time of six minutes and 9.76 seconds made him the most successful male speed skater in the history of the Games with his eighth podium finish.


Snowboarder Gerard made a phenomenal start to his Olympic career but he confessed in the aftermath he did not totally comprehend how great his achievement was.

"I think I'm starting to get it. Going into this I grew up watching the X Games, or US Open and all that. So to finally be here and all this, and the huge stadiums, and all the people watching and all that, I think I'm starting to get how big the Olympics is," said Gerard.

Max Parrot took second while Mark McMorris, who less than 12 months ago was hospitalised with serious injuries after hitting a tree in a backcountry snowboarding accident, claimed bronze.

Unlike Gerard, Kramer is someone who knows exactly what the Olympics mean. The Dutchman became the first male speed skater to win three gold medals in a single event on this stage by triumphing in the 5000m.


Two-time defending men's luge champion Felix Loch looked set to make it a hat-trick when he took a lead of nearly two tenths of a second into the final run.

However, the German committed an uncharacteristic error and slid entirely out of the medal positions, with David Gleirscher becoming the first Austrian to claim gold in the event in 50 years.

There were a further two surprise winners elsewhere.

Johannes Thingnes Bo and Martin Fourcade have combined for 14 wins in the 15 Biathlon World Cup races this season but neither were on the podium as Germany's Arnd Peiffer stole the glory, while Justine Dufour-Lapointe was pipped in the defence of her ladies' moguls title by Perrine Lafont.

Andi Naude led the way into the final, but she did not finish her final run after losing control following an impressive opening jump.


Things did not look good for Simen Hegstad Krueger when he took a tumble and broke a pole in the opening 100 metres of the men's skiathlon at Alpensia Cross-Country Skiing Centre.

However, he fought from the back of the field to the front and took the top step on the podium ahead of fellow Norwegians Martin Johnsrud Sundby and Hans Christer Holund.

"I thought: 'This is over.' I had two guys over me and one broken pole and I knew it was a long race," said Krueger. "I just had to go for it and don't look back."

Source: OPTA

Story first published: Sunday, February 11, 2018, 21:00 [IST]
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