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Sage Kotsenburg Sochi Olympic Gold Slopestyle
Sage Kotsenburg after winning the Sochi Olympic Gold in Slopestyle Snowboarding

Sage Kotsenburg's Sochi Olympic Gold Slopestyle Snowboarding Adventure

by Ralph Teller, Ironman Triathlete

“Dude, you’re at the Olympics, what do you have to lose?”

February 8, 2014

Sage Kotsenburg wins the Sochi Olympic Gold medal in Slopestyle Snowboarding with his sense of adventure born of the frontier American West (Sage was born in Idaho, raised in Utah).

The triple cork, which is three head-over-heels flips, was considered the snowboard move to make to win on the Olympic competition stage. Sage, however, had a random idea as his turn down the slopes approached.

Exploring new Territory. Sage Kotsenburg, a 20-year-old kid in the biggest event of his life, decided to phone his brother and mentor Blaze 10 minutes before his olympic run to get some last-minute advice . . . on a new run idea. Like Lewis and Clark setting out to explore new territory or Columbus setting sail the explore across the oceans. Taking great risks. Exploring the unkown.

He wanted to know about the worthiness of a trick he was considering for the first time in his career in the finals of this new Olympic slopestyle event.

“What do you think, man, should I go for it?” Sage asked his brother.

Blaze thought about how Sage wasn’t even supposed to be an Olympic contender, and now maybe he had one run for a chance at an Olympic medal?

“Dude, you’re at the Olympics, what do you have to lose?” Blaze told his bro. “Why not?”

Why not, indeed? Why not a shaggy-haired kid turning this sport into a random ideal of adventure? “OK, I’m down with it,” Sage said.

About 10 minutes later, Sage Kotsenburg twirled through the cold air with a Backside Double Cork 1620 Japan.

He calls it the "Holy Crail," a move that makes it appear as if he's spinning like a top as he rotates 4½ times, grabbing the board behind his back in the process. "I'd never even tried it before, literally," Kotsenburg said. "Never ever tried it before in my life."

The trick will officially go down as a "1620 Japan Air Mute Grab." "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."

Slopestyle is a competitive event for freestyle snowboarders and skiers that involves an athlete performing tricks in the air as well as on rails and boxes. Unlike racing, there is no clock - competitors are awarded points for style and difficulty of their run by a group of judges

His competitors were among those who threw the much-ballyhooed triple cork, which is three head-over-heels flips . . . considered more dangerous and thought to be the must-have trick to win the first Olympic gold in this sport's history.

Snowboarding, he said. “It’s like the randomest idea ever.”

More about Ralph Teller. See Ralph's 1Vigor Log Calendar.

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