Red Gerard: Profile of a 17-Year-Old Snowboarding Icon

It is fair to say that Redmond ‘Red’ Gerard has achieved a lot in his short snowboarding career. The American, who was born in Ohio but now lives and trains in Colorado, has already won a gold medal at the Winter Olympics, not to mention a fourth-place finish in the WIS World Cup. Not bad for a kid who has not yet celebrated his 18th birthday.

Gerard, who is something of a Slopestyle specialist, began snowboarding as a two-year-old, but his love-affair with the sport really took off when he and his family moved to Colorado (on a trial basis, but the move was made permanent in 2015) around a decade ago. The family would spend the winters in Colorado, allowing Red to hone his skills, then return to Ohio for the summer. His talent on the slopes began to be noticed out there, and the youngster was soon to be picked up by snowboarding apparel and equipment specialists Burton.

Grand Prix win vaulted Gerard into the limelight

He started competing in amateur competition in 2011, working his way up to the pro circuit by the age of fifteen. His early pro career, while notable for competing as an adolescent, was not spectacular, although he was regularly cited among those to be the future of American snowboarding.

Media scrutiny began to intensify however, especially as the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games approached. Gerard punched his ticket to the Games with a victory in the Slopestyle at the US Grand Prix at Snowmass in early January 2018. From that point, the buzz around the 17-year-old began to grow.

Kleveland disappointed at Winter Olympics

In saying that, Gerard wasn’t even considered as a likely medal chance at the Games. The sports betting odds before the tournament favoured big names like Marcus Kleveland (4/1), Max Parrot (9/2) and Mark McMorris (11/2), who were expected to fill the medal positions ahead of Gerard (13/2). That seemed even more likely when Gerard fell on both of his first two runs on the Slopestyle leaving him in 11th place from 12 competitors. His final run was special though, with Gerard closing with a backside triple-cork 1440 to secure the gold.

One of the notable aspects of the Men’s Slopestyle at the Winter Olympics was the fact that betting favourite Marcus Kleveland was beaten into 6th place. Kleveland is two years Gerard’s senior, but, despite the fact Gerard got the gold, it is the Norwegian who still leads the way on the global stage. He is a double Winter X Games gold medallist and has an incredible record of consistency. Great sports stars need great rivalries, and Gerard vs Kleveland could define snowboarding for the next decade, perhaps even supplanting Shaun White as the most marketable aspect of the sport.

Gerard has work to do to reach anywhere near the level of White, but the precociously talented youngster is well on his way to the top. With youngsters like him and Kleveland preparing to lead the way in the sport, we can say that the future of snowboarding is in safe hands.

 

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