- Associated Press - Saturday, February 8, 2014

SOCHI, Russia (AP) - The night before the biggest run of his life, American snowboarder Sage Kotsenburg didn’t paint a picture of the intense athlete quietly smoldering as he visualized what was going to take place.

Instead, Kotsenburg was hanging out with some teammates who couldn’t make the opening ceremonies, munching on “chocolate, onion rings, chips and stuff” before he fell asleep while watching the movie “Fight Club.”

“We were chilling really hard,” Kotsenburg says.

Maybe more of these hard-driving Olympic athletes should follow his lead. Kotsenburg woke up from the best night’s sleep he’s had in Russia and ripped the first “1620 Japan grab” - soaring off the final jump, grabbing the back of his board and flexing his legs behind his back while spinning four and a half times - of his career to win the inaugural men’s slopestyle gold medal.

A mere 10 minutes before his run, as he was mustering the courage to try a trick he’s never done before, Kotsenburg decided to give his big brother a call back home in Park City, Utah. Kotsenburg’s family and friends were gathered for a viewing party.

“He said, ‘WHAAAAT? What’s going on? Everyone be quiet, I can’t hear you,’” Kotsenburg said with a laugh. “I started telling him, dude, talking about the run. He’s like, ‘Yeah, you got this.’ He’s the reason I got into snowboarding, so calling him before the run was the coolest thing ever.”

Now Kotsenburg is the coolest thing going. He picked up about 2,500 twitter followers in two hours after winning and a picture was circulating with the 20-year-old, shaggy blonde-haired bro right next to his doppelganger, Jeff Spicoli from “Fast Times at Ridgemont High.”

“That is SICK,” Kotsenburg said when told of the tweet. “I’m so down with it. I’m stoked to see that.”

- Jon Krawczynski - Twitter https://twitter.com/APKrawczynski


Associated Press reporters will be filing dispatches about happenings in and around Sochi during the 2014 Winter Games. Follow AP journalists covering the Olympics on Twitter: https://apne.ws/1c3WMiu

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