The Guy Who Won America's First Gold Medal In Sochi Is Your New Favourite Olympic Athlete

Sage kotsenburg@sagekotsenburgKotsenburg (right) in practice with a British snowboarder.

American Sage Kotsenburg won the first gold medal of the Sochi Olympics, upsetting Canada’s Mark McMorris in the snowboarding slopestyle event.

Kotsenburg doesn’t do the biggest, most dangerous tricks. In fact, the “triple-cork” trick that McMorris did was arguably more difficult than anything Kotsenburg did in the slopestyle finals.

He relies on style more than anything else, and seems to view snowboarding as a leisure activity more than a job. He told Yahoo’s Jeff Passan after the qualifying round, “I’d rather not conform to making the judges happy.”

That’s a radical statement for a sport where judging is everything. But it seems like Kotsenburg is more amused by success than addicted to it.

Here’s what he tweeted after the semifinals:

“I’m pretty surprised I won, honestly,” he said afterward.

He’s just out here having a good time. He doesn’t take anything too seriously. If you had to describe him in a word, it’d be “chill.”

When asked about the judging controversies that plagued the competition earlier this week, he said simply, “Sometimes they’re super down for the stuff and sometimes there not.”

He’s the best:

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