Rosa Khutor (Russia) (AFP) - Joss Christensen led a US podium sweep in the men's freestyle skiing slopestyle event at the Sochi Olympics Thursday, and then dedicated his gold medal to his father, who died last year.
Just as he had done in the morning heats, Christensen produced the best two runs of the final with scores of 95.80 and 93.80, edging out Gus Kenworthy (93.60), who took silver, and Nicholas Goepper (92.40), who won bronze.
Christensen's father, J.D., died last year due to a heart condition he had since birth but his son said he hoped his father was looking down on him during his finest hour.
"I hope I made my father proud. He's been supporting me since day one; through all the injuries I've had, which I know scares parents a lot," said the 22-year-old.
"He's always supported me and never said stop. I wish he was here but I hope he's looking down and smiling. I hope I made him proud. I did it for him."
What made his victory even more impressive was that Christensen only qualified for the US team a week and a half before the Games began.
"It was definitely an honour to make the team. I just wanted to show everyone that they'd made a good choice and hopefully prove myself," he said.
"I didn't try to put any more pressure on myself, I just tried to ski a normal contest and just do my best and have fun with it. I thought it worked out."
The result ended Canada's monopoly of freestyle gold medals at the Sochi Games. They had already won the gold and bronze in the women's slopestyle event and bettered that with gold and silver in both men's and women's moguls.
"I am so stoked about an American 1-2-3," said Kenworthy, who added that he would try to adopt a family of stray dogs that have been seen outside the media centre in Sochi.
"Nick is always the guy to kind of beat in a contest, he is so consistent and so incredible and Joss is really killing it right now. He is one of my best friends and I am stoked."
As for the mother and her four puppies, Kenworthy said he felt it was fate.
"There is a family of stray dogs that's living outside the Gorki media centre and I'm doing everything I can to bring them back with me," he said.
"I've just been a dog lover my whole life and to find the cutest family of strays ever here at the Olympics is just the fairytale way for it to go down."