Red Gerard on his first Winter Olympics and what's next after winning gold
When you talk to Red Gerard, he seems like a regular 17-year-old guy. He's polite, casual and very charming. But the major different between Red and other teenagers is that he is also an Olympic gold medalist.
In this year's Olympic Winter Games, held in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Red won the United States' first gold medal of the games in Snowboarding Slopestyle and became the youngest male Olympic snowboarding champion ever.
We talked to Red over the phone just days after the games came to a close to hear more about his breakthrough #UnicornMoment and to learn what is coming up next for the teenager now that he can check winning Olympic gold off his bucket list.
AOL: We love the idea of an Ice Breaker’s #UnicornMoment -- a life-changing achievement sparked by self-belief. When you were coming into your third and final run in Slopestyle, how did you stay confident and prepare for the last run?
RED: I kind of come into every contest with the same idea — I just want to land a run. So it was more about making it down the mountain safely.
Did you think that you had won the gold when you landed your 3rd run?
It was more like "it is what it is." I was just really happy to land a run and for it kind of all to be over with in a sense, but when my score came in, I was definitely pretty psyched.
Now that the Olympics are over, what is the next major achievement you’re working towards?
The US Open is in a few weeks and I'm really excited for that. I want to get back on a snowboard pretty bad, because I took a few days off now, but I'm itching to get back. [The US Open] would be a cool one to win definitely, but it's more of a really fun contest to ride in. There's usually pretty good weather and lots of fun people to hang out with. It's a good time.
When you aren't snowboard, what are your favorite things to do?
When I'm not snowboarding, I like to golf a little. I'm pretty easy. I like to hang out with people, being in warm weather is nice, eat sushi, eat lots of food, skateboard.
Do you have any advice for other young athletes that dream of going to the Olympics and having a break-through moment like you did?
I just try to have the best time that I can and not to take anything too seriously. A lot of kids think you need a coach growing up and they need to take it so seriously, but that's something I never did. I was more of about just having lots of fun and riding with my brothers and all my friends, and I think its a good way to go about it.
"Ice Breakers announced Team Unicorn in December in an effort to inspire fans and consumers to tap into their inner confidence and fulfill their goals, culminating in a #UnicornMoment – a life-changing achievement sparked by self-belief. Red’s story serves as evidence that anyone can achieve greatness by maintaining a break-through mentality."
Red Gerard wins US' first gold in 2018 Winter Games