American snowboarder wins first gold medal at Sochi Olympics

     United States' Sage Kotsenburg takes a jump during the men's snowboard slopestyle final at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park, at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Saturday, Feb. 8, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia. (Sergei Grits/AP Photo)

    United States' Sage Kotsenburg takes a jump during the men's snowboard slopestyle final at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park, at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Saturday, Feb. 8, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia. (Sergei Grits/AP Photo)

    The first gold medal awarded at the 2014 Sochi Games ended up with three snowboarders on the top podium, hugging it out after grinding and spinning their way down the slopestyle course.

    Sage Kotsenburg’s win showcased a different competitive vibe brought by one of the newest Olympic events, with the American celebrating his win with Norwegian and Canadian opponents as if they were teammates.

    Kotsenburg’s gold came after a dominant first run in the finals Saturday, scoring a 93.50 in a first run that saw 12 competitors put up an average 54.22 points. Norway’s Staale Sandbech scored 91.75 on his second run for silver, while Canada’s Mark Morris earned bronze for his second run of 88.75.

    Kotsenburg, of Park City, Utah, was mobbed by Sandbech and Morris at the base of the course after the win was clinched, delaying his efforts to drape himself in a U.S. flag. They then embraced him on the top podium after the medals were officially awarded.

    The silver and bronze winners clearly weren’t sweating the judges’ decisions, unlike spectators complaining about the judging on social networks.

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