Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - US teen makes history as wind pummels Olympics




US teen makes history as wind pummels Olympics

Seventeen-year-old American snowboarder Red Gerard has made history by becoming the first Games gold medallist born this millennium. AFP
Seventeen-year-old American snowboarder Red Gerard has made history by becoming the first Games gold medallist born this millennium. AFP

US teen makes history as wind pummels Olympics

Wild winds disrupted the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics today as a 17-year-old American snowboarder made history by becoming the first Games gold medallist born this millennium.

Red Gerard, born on June 29, 2000, celebrated a storming win in slopestyle, which also made him the second youngest individual winner in Games history.

“I’m super-psyched!” Gerard said, adding: “I cannot believe it. I’m shaking right now, maybe from the cold or the excitement, I don’t know. But I’m ecstatic. I can’t believe it.”

Slopestyle was one of the events that did not fall victim to high winds today, when the showpiece men’s downhill skiing was aborted until Thursday following a pre-dawn meeting of ski chiefs.

Later, as the gusts continued to swirl around Pyeongchang, the women’s slopestyle qualification was scrapped with the competitors all going straight into Monday’s final.

A day of extremes started with a surprise earthquake alert, after a 4.7-magnitude quake rattled eastern South Korea, with its epicentre about 260 kilometres from the Games.

South Korea isn’t known for deadly earthquakes, but organisers gave assurances that the Olympic venues had been built to stand up to a major tremour.

“All the facilities in the Games area are built so they can withstand strong earthquakes over 7.0 . . . so I assure you there was no issue regarding these facilities,” said Sung Baik-you, spokesman for the Pyeongchang organisers.

The severe chill which has made Pyeongchang one of the coldest Games in history was set to worsen, with temperatures forecast to plunge to -14 degrees Celsius on Monday – with a real feel of -25C.

“People are advised to dress warmly and wear hats and gloves to keep themselves warm,” Sung warned.

On the second day of full competition, Simen Hegstad Krueger led a Norwegian sweep in the men’s skiathlon after recovering from an early fall and breaking a pole.

“It is an indescribable feeling,” Krueger said. “It is an amazing day but it started in the worst way with the fall after the first 100 metres and a broken pole.

“I was completely last in the group so I had to start the race again and switch focus to catch up with the guys. When I did it I was: ‘OK, take one lap, two laps, three laps and just get into it again, and try to do it on the final lap’.”

Dutchman Sven Kramer roared to a third straight Olympic title in the men’s 5,000m speed skating, and Germany’s Arnd Peiffer upstaged French hope Martin Fourcade to win the men’s 10km sprint biathlon.

From near-death to podium

Perrine Laffont claimed France’s first gold medal when she beat defending champion Justine Dufour-Lapointe to win freestyle’s women’s moguls.

And there was drama in the luge when reigning champion and hot favourite Felix Loch fluffed his final run to finish out of the medals and hand victory to Austria’s David Gleirscher.

In the slopestyle, Canada’s Mark McMorris staked an early claim for the most inspirational story of the Games after taking bronze – just 11 months after a near-fatal crash.

In a snowboarding accident last year, McMorris broke 17 bones and suffered a collapsed lung and ruptured spleen, leaving him fighting for his life.

“I don’t want to think too much about the past today, but I appreciate the fact I’m here on my snowboard,” he said, smiling.

MOST VIEWED

  • Without shoes or a helmet, a young cyclist steals the show

    Pech Theara gripped the curved handlebars of his rusty old bike, planted his bare feet on its pedals and stormed as fast as he could towards the finish line. The odds were against him as the 13-year-old faced off against kids with nicer bikes at

  • Seven positive for Covid-19, Hun Sen confirms local transmission

    Prime Minister Hun Sen announced that there has been local community transmission of Covid-19. However, he urged the people not to panic even though the Ministry of Health announced the discovery of seven new cases on Sunday. Among the victims are Chhem Savuth, the director-general

  • Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville expressway on schedule

    The construction of the more than $1.9 billion Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville Expressway has not been delayed despite the Covid-19 pandemic, with more than 26 per cent of the project completed and expected to finish in about two years, according to Ministry of Public Works and Transport secretary of

  • Over 110 garment factories close

    A government official said on November 22 that at least 110 garment factories had closed in the first nine months of the year and left more than 55,000 workers without jobs – but union leaders worry those numbers could be much higher. Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training undersecretary

  • Singapore group seeks $14M in damages from PPSP over ‘breach of contract’

    Singapore-based Asiatic Group (Holdings) Ltd is seeking a minimum of $14.4 million relief from Cambodia Securities Exchange (CSX)-listed Phnom Penh Special Economic Zone Plc (PPSP) for allegedly breaching a power plant joint venture (JV) agreement. Asiatic Group’s wholly-owned Colben System Pte Ltd and 95 per

  • PM vows to protect Hun family

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has vowed to continue his fight against opposition politicians who he said intend to smash the Hun family. Without naming the politicians but apparently referring to former leaders of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), Hun Sen said there