When the history of the 2018 Winter Olympics is written, there will be no shortage of international drama.
The sister of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un made the first appearance by the North Korean ruling dynasty in South Korea since the two countries were founded (to the fawning embarrassment of the mainstream media).
Vice President Mike Pence was the highest-ranking United States representative to attend (and he refused to shake her hand.)
And it all took place against the backdrop of almost a year of increasing tensions on the Korean Peninsula over Kim’s nuclear weapons program.
But one of the most dramatic stories of the games so far as been a 17-year-old American’s quest to win the gold medal for his country, and doing it against all odds.
Snowboarder Red Gerard managed to take the coveted gold medal in the snowboarding competition on the Games’ first day, his country’s first of the 2018 Games, making it not only enjoyable, but historic, too.
He even managed to get a profanity in on live television when he did it.
As the U.K. Daily Mail pointed out, the young man was so shocked that he blurted out “holy s***” (and worse) as he finished his final run, epithets easily heard by the Olympics’ international audience.
“It feels incredible. I’m just really happy that I got to land a run and I’m just really excited right now,” Gerard said.
“I’m just so happy that it all worked out. I was really happy when I saw I came in as first. I would have to guess that people are pretty surprised. I had a lot of fun and all I really want to do is just land runs.”
Viewers of the Games who checked in on Twitter were just as shocked and happy as Gerard was.
As NPR described Gerard’s victory, it was a “stunning comeback.”
The youngest competitor in the event takes a gold medal after a stunning comeback win in the men’s slopestyle final. https://t.co/FCfId1y8SD
— NPR (@NPR) February 11, 2018
And the competitor’s age wasn’t overlooked either.
As another Twitter user pointed out …
— Barstool Sports (@barstoolsports) February 11, 2018
Of course, the Olympics are a young person’s competition – the aging of the human body makes it impossible for even the most athletically oriented to keep up beyond a certain number of years.
But for Gerard’s win, something more than youthful resilience was necessary.
He had the drive, determination, and the talent, of course, to come back from poor performances on his early runs to win the gold for his country.
International dramas come and go – as hopefully, the regime of the North Korean dictator will someday be consigned to history – but a moment like Gerard’s win should be remembered for a long time to come.
And it’s one all Americans can be proud of. (Even if he should watch his language.)
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