First Sochi gold medal goes to US snowboarder Kotsenburg

Sage Kotsenburg of the United States won the first gold medal of the Sochi Winter Olympics on Saturday, dominating the final of the new discipline of snowboard slopestyle, RIA Novosti reports.

Scoring 93.50 on his first run decided the gold for Kotsenburg, ahead of Norway’s Staale Sandbech with the silver on 91.75. Canada’s Mark McMorris took the bronze with 88.75 after having battled a broken rib in the run-up to the Olympics.

It is the first major title for Idaho native Kotsenburg, who has twice finished second at the Winter X Games but was considered something of an outsider for the gold medal in Sochi, especially as he had to qualify for the final earlier Saturday instead of progressing directly from Thursday’s first qualifying session.

“I’m really excited. It feels awesome,” Kotsenburg said. “I don’t know what to call it. I have no idea what’s actually going on. This is the craziest thing that ever happened.”

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