We have to admit, we didn't have Sage Kotsenburg pinned as a serious medal contender for Sochi; we were stoked to get to watch him on the world stage but that was about as far as our expectations went. Like everyone else we guessed that the triple cork party would come to town and dominate, but Sage stole the show with his unique style, throwing tech spins with crazy grabs and keeping it loose and fun top to bottom.
Having started snowboarding aged 5 and competing aged 7, Sage has already had a 13 year 'career.' But in the current galaxy of professional riders it takes a lot to stand out; our earliest memory of him was the video entitled 'Sagepalooza' featuring him and Spencer O'Brien, amongst many, sessioning a giant kicker which culminated in the now infamous 'shit my pants' triple cork attempts.
Or maybe it was his appearances in his Park City local's webedits by party-shred crew 'Lick The Cat' complete with jumps trains and crap graphics, plus plenty of show-stealing steeze and smiles from the man; just check the back three to knuckle to back one in the vid below!
Either way, he's been making waves in the snowboard world recently, openly criticising judging formats and 'gymnastic' contest runs, but along with fellow 'stylist' Danny Davis still managed to qualify for the US Olympic team, albeit last minute. Before then he made our headlines as we declared his first competition outing of the backside double cork 'holy crail' in the Beijing Air & Style the best trick of the night.
Along with Halldor Helgason and Ethan Morgan, the last few competition runs he's put down have drawn equal amounts of praise and criticism for his rare style and course interpretations; he even threw a 360-eurocarve into his last X Games slopestyle run - you can check it out in his own web series below:
But we're betting even he didn't see this final twist coming, Olympic gold for the guy who reluctantly decided - at the last minute - not to party at the opening ceremony last night in order to concentrate on his riding today. He himself probably put it best when he said on Twitter this morning:
It all ends today for slopestyle, but remember what snowboarding is about, snowboarding does not end today. Should be super fun!!
— sage kotsenburg (@sagekotsenburg) February 8, 2014
But only after posting a picture of 'Olympic onion rings,' he's still a snowboarder after all...
So who is Sage Kotsenburg? The answer is probably best answered by looking to the future; he is the first Olympic slopestyle champion, the guy who ushered his fellow medalists to share his podium spot and quite possibly a new Shaun White for the next generation of shredders. But unlike El Blanco he'll hopefully prove less divisive within our own community whilst promoting the best aspects of snowboarding to the world; fun, style, creativity and most importantly, the love. Thanks Sage!