I saw him flipping through the air on the big screen at USA House to win gold for USA in the men’s slopestyle snowboarding contest on Sunday, February 11. Then I saw him again 13 days later (this morning), competing in the inaugural Olympic men’s Big Air snowboarding competition.
And on the train ride home, I saw him again on a clip from Jimmy Kimmel Show, wearing his gold medal.
Red Gerard is a 17-year-old snowboarding phenom, but can he defy the laws of physics and be in two geographies at the same time? No, but he has not stopped moving since he stepped off the medal podium last week.
According to this Washington Post article, Gerard and his agent saw this 10-day gap between events as an opportunity to hit the US talk show circuit during the Olympics. He flew 13 hours to Los Angeles and spent time with Kimmel on his show, with Ryan Seacrest and Kelly Ripa on CBS This Morning, and with People Magazine. After three days in LA, he got back on a plane to head back to South Korea.
And if we learned anything from the interview on the Jimmy Kimmel Show, Red Gerard is a poster child for snowboarding culture: nonchalant cool, humble, and eager for fun. The night before his gold-medal run in the slope style competition, he watched Brooklyn Nine-Nine in his room, overslept and proceeded to slay the slope.
Kimmel seemed surprised, saying “You were relaxed.” Gerard replied,
“Yeah, pretty relaxed. I’m pretty good with nerves before a contest. I try to treat it like any other day.”
For a high school kid, Gerard looks amazingly comfortable on the big stage. He took Kimmel’s praise and kidding with aplomb.
JK: This is unbelievable. You’re 17 years old. You got many, many years ahead of you….of disappointment by the way. It’s not going to be as good as this.
RG: (without missing a beat) I know I’m peaking here (he said with his right hand over his head). After this it’s going to be steady downward.
I doubt it. The sky’s the limit for this kid.