Kransnaya Polyana (Russia), Feb 8 IANS | 5 months ago

Despite the withdrawal of Shawn White, the United States claimed the first gold of the Sochi Olympics Saturday as Sage Kotsenburg took the men's snowboard slopestyle title with 93.50 points.


Staale Sandbech of Norway took the silver with 91.75 points and X Games champion Mark McMorris from Canada bagged the bronze at 88.75, reports Xinhua.

The 20-year-old American had to compete in the morning's semifinal in order to qualify for the final but he threw down an amazing first run in the final round with 93.50, the best score of the final.

"I'm really excited. It feels awesome. 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," said Kotsenburg.

McMorris, a gold medal favourite going into the event, fell on the landing of his final jump in the first run of the final and scored only 33.75 points. He recovered soon and put on a strong second run to land on the podium.

Maxence Parrot of Canada, top in qualifying, finished fifth.

The slopestyle, debuting at the Olympics, was missing its top athlete White, who pulled out early this week to focus on winning a third consecutive gold in the halfpipe competition.

(Posted on 08-02-2014)