Red Gerard: 17-year-old Snowboarder and Olympic Gold Medalist

Jack Wisialowski, Journalist

  A powerful gust of wind penetrates the rugged and slight 17-year-old as he stands atop the Pyeongchang slopestyle snowboard course. Red Gerard, a creative rider from Colorado, hasn't come to the Olympics to play it safe: He's going for gold. Gerard, not only the youngest snowboarder to win gold ever, but the youngest male competitor to score highest in any Winter Olympic event since 1928, believes his run earned him a gold “...because it was a little different, and (he tries) to be a little bit different in (his) runs.”

  As young as he is, the competition didn’t seem to phase him much. Gerard viewed the Olympics as any another contest, and he just tried to put something down that would impress - and impress it did. The odds seemed to be stacked against him on the windy February 11th morning, the youngest and smallest of the athletes, the wind affected him most, and according to his parent-like 20 year old teammate Kyle Mack, he almost slept through his 10 am alarm. This inspiration and important story highlights the magnitude that risk taking, originality, and creativity has on the reactions of others. Ski Sundown employee Mitchell Palczewski remarks, “It’s amazing how much talent and originality he has as just a young kid, to get gold at the olympics as a 17 year is incredible - no matter the sport.”

  Although Red Gerard’s family had recently moved to Colorado, and bought a house surrounded by resorts, him and his brothers decided to build a full set up of rails and jumps just in their backyard. It’s complete with a rope attached to a motorcycle engine that loops and pulls riders back up to the top of the hill. Gerard described how he enjoys “Having some friends over and... a little barbecue”. Gerard has worked hard to get to his level, and I think we can all learn from his attitude toward competition and life.The next time you stand atop your greatest challenge, remember your hard work, don't play it safe, take the risk, you might surprise yourself.