At the age of 21, Red Gerard is one of the few people in the world who has prepared to defend an Olympic gold medal. But if you think he’s feeling the pressure, think again.
The Ohio native is set to compete in the men’s snowboarding slopestyle at the upcoming 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, which begins next week. No matter what happens, he already wrote history four years ago: In 2018, Gerard became the youngest male American Olympian to win gold in 90 years when he took the top spot in men’s snowboarding slopestyle at the Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea.
But even though Gerard tells CNBC Make It that he is focused on his goal of winning another gold medal in a row, he says he will be the first to cheer on his rivals when they fight to beat him. There is extra satisfaction in winning, he says, when your competitors also score high.
Seeing his rivals succeed “will just motivate me to land my race better,” Gerard says. “It’s going to feel a lot better to win when you look at the results, and from fifth place onwards, everyone landed a race that was really good and amazing.”
Gerard, an avid sports fan, says he sees a level of camaraderie in snowboarding that is not always present in other sports. He cheers on his friends because “at the end of the day it’s up to me” to perform and score well.
“Almost everyone I compete against, I consider those guys my closest friends,” Gerard says. “Especially the ones on the American team and the ones on the Canadian team. Those guys I’m pretty close to.”
And, he says, they cheer on him too. “When we’re at the top [of the slope] we always mess for each other, “he says.” I want my competitor to land a race, and I want it to be really good. I just want mine to do better. “
On Saturday, January 22, Gerard finished fourth in slopestyle at the X-Games Aspen 2022, where he, among other rivals, met the reigning world champion and Olympic favorite Marcus Kleveland. Both snowboarders are scheduled to compete in the Olympic slopestyle qualifiers on Saturday, February 5th at. 23:30 EST.
The final of the event will take place on Sunday 6 February at 23:00 EST.
Publication: CNBC Make It parent company NBCUniversal owns NBC Sports and NBC Olympics. NBC Olympics is the US broadcasting rights holder for all summer and winter games until 2032.
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