On Saturday afternoon, the 17-year-old from Silverthorne, Colorado, became the lone USA rider to qualify into Sunday's snowboard slopestyle finals, while his mom, dad and all six of his siblings cheered him on from the friends and family section at the bottom of the course. He struggled to land tricks cleanly in his first two runs, and was sitting in a distant 11th place before his third and final run. The teenager is also the second-youngest American man to win a Winter Olympics gold medal and the youngest since Billy Fiske (16 in 1928 when winning the five-man bobsleigh).
Most viewers watching the Olympics on NBC on Saturday night assumed that the events being shown were live.
He won USA's first medal of the 2018 Olympics despite starting in last place.More news: Global stock markets selloff accelerates
The 18-year-old, who was the first snowboarder to take to the slope, scored 70.85 on his first run but it was only enough to finish ninth and miss out on qualification. "But that's where I told myself that I've been snowboarding since I was nine years old and that it was already a victory that I was here at the Olympic Games".
Red Gerard's hometown of Rocky River went insane as their native son took home the first gold medal for the United States at the 2018 Winter Olympics.
Speaking of his very vocally supportive family he said: 'I can not wait to see them all and see what they have to say'. "I mean, that's all I really came here for - just to land a run", he said after qualifiers. "I'm happy I was able to do that and happy they got to join me on this experience". His 87.16 put him ahead of Canadian Mark McMorris, who was the leader with an 85.20. "I grew up watching the X Games and Dew Tour. We are playing good, consistent curling and grinding out some good wins", Morris said. "I never realized how big this is".More news: LL Bean Ditches Unlimited Lifetime Return Policy as Scams Rise
"Very much so, it is really cool that I can snowboard again", he said.
Canada's Max Parrot emerged as the highest scorer during the qualification, which sees each athlete have two attempts to register the highest possible score, with the competitor's best run counting as their qualification score.
Gerard, renowned for his prowess on rails - thanks in partly to the terrain park in the backyard of his family's Silverthorne home - wove a creative line through the course's byzantine rail section, which offered myriad opportunities for riders. "And if you were to fall on all three of your runs, that'd be a pretty big bummer, but I kind of know they're always going to be there for me".More news: Arsenal share Kanu's classic against Tottenham ahead of North London derby