Sage Kotsenburg with his historic slopestyle snowboarding gold medal, the first of two medals won by Team USA so far in Sochi. (Getty Images for USOC/Joe Scarnici)
Momentum is an important ally! Saturday’s two medals will go a long way in motivating other Team USA athletes in the coming days. What a great way to open the Games with gold for Sage Kotsenburg. Sage is the perfect ambassador for the new sport of slopestyle - growing up riding rails and hucking himself off huge features. While a bronze medal was a heartbreak for Hannah Kearney and she fought through tears at an emotional press conference, she proudly acknowledged her place now as a two–time Olympic medalist. For bravely telling her story to the media she earned one of the press corps highest and little given honors–a round of applause from every journalist in the room. A big day is coming up Sunday, headlined by the men's downhill with the current course favorite Bode Miller.
Stacey Cook, who has been consistent in all three runs, was right behind her in sixth.
Jackie Wiles finished fourth, but missed a gate high on the run. Despite the mistake, she was also named as a downhill starter for the Feb. 12 medal event.
It will be the first Olympic start for Wiles, who is in her rookie season on the U.S. Ski Team.
Julia Mancuso, who along with Cook earned a downhill start before the Olympics, finished eighth.
The super combined will be staged Feb. 10. Starting the race will be Mancuso, Cook, Ross and Smith.
QUOTES Bode Miller It’s a pleasure for me to ski on this track. I would be angry with myself if I had wasted this opportunity to properly run on this track. It tests your ability to the maximum. The idea is to be unbeatable. I’m going to be ready. I want to win.
Jackie Wiles It's been my dream to race in the Olympics, so this is really, really big.
Laurenne Ross Being a part of the downhill team will mean a lot to me. Racing the downhill at the Olympics is something that I’ve always looked forward to.
It was a strong day for Team USA with Olympic rookie Olympian Jessie Diggins finishing eighth in the skiathlon. Liz Stephen was 12th.
Cross country continues Sunday with the men's 15k skiathlon.
Starters will include Erik Bjornsen, Kris Freeman, Brian Gregg and Noah Hoffman.
All eyes are on a strong Team USA performance with the men’s and women’s freestyle sprints Tuesday Feb. 11.
Slopestyle athletes enjoyed a rest day and supported fellow Team USA snowboard athletes in the first-ever slopestyle final of the Olympics. Athletes are excited to hit the course again on Monday during their next training session before the women’s medal round on Tuesday.
After a life-changing experience at opening Ceremony Friday night, the halfpipe team continued its Olympic adventure by taking in events in the coastal region. They’re heading back to the mountains Sunday and checking out the halfpipe venue. It will be the first time on the venue since last year during the Sochi World Cup test event.
A small bobble on her final run cost her the gold, but a strong finish made her a two-time Olympic medalist.
Eliza Outtrim earned a sixth-place finish at her Olympic debut.
Heather McPhie finished 13th.
The Olympic competition debuted a new format that required three separate final rounds for the top six skiers.
Men are up next with qualification and final rounds on Monday.
QUOTES Hannah Kearney I wanted that gold medal. And I skied great. But I made a few mistakes. And you don't win the Olympics when you make mistakes. I'm proud to contribute to the medals count for Team USA at the Olympics. But right now I'm very disappointed.
You don't prepare for this moment - you prepare for success. But life does not always go according to plan. Usually there is a reason. And you learn from it.
Athletes will start the first official training Sunday on the normal hill and RusSki Gorki ski course.
Kotsenburg, who failed to qualify in Thursday's opening rounds, made his way into the finals Saturday morning then put down a remarkable first run which held for the win.
Kotsenburg showed the sportsmanship and camaraderie of snowboarding when he pulled his friends Staale Sandbech and Mark McMorris up onto the top of the podium with him during the medals presentation.
Team USA athletes Ryan Stassel and Chas Guldemond did not advance to the final and finished 14th and 15th respectively.
QUOTES Sage Kotsenburg All of us were having a blast today; you could see us all high-fiving at the bottom and it’s not like we’re bummed out when other people come down and land a run. As much as you want to stay on top, you want them to get a good score too because I grew up with Mark (McMorris, Canada) and Staale (Sandbech, Norway). We’ve just become such good friends over the past couple years. It’s sick to be on the podium with them and everyone is stoked for each other.
Mike Jankowski, U.S. Snowboarding Slopestyle Coach There's nothing like starting out the Olympics for Team USA with a gold medal. The momentum is something we look forward to all the teams grasping onto and really using it as energy to move forward themselves and to get themselves some gold medals.
WATCH LIVE ON TV
NBC Olympics launched the most extensive coverage ever of the Olympic Winter Games on Thursday.
Every event will be streamed live on NBCOlympics.com in addition to 18 straight nights of primetime broadcasts.
NBCSN will present more than 230 hours of Olympic coverage from Sochi, the most Winter Olympic coverage ever on a cable network.
NBCSN will air at least one gold medal final live each day through its 16 days of coverage. Most days, live coverage on NBCSN will begin at 3 a.m. ET and continue for 12 hours.
A full day-by-day Sochi competition schedule can be found here.
Sochi Olympics TV Viewers Guide For the next 18 days, the world will be captivated by stories of athletic success. American ski and snowboarding fans can watch it all live on NBC Olympics.com along with extensive network broadcast coverage. Comprehensive coverage of the Olympic Winter Games from Sochi kicks off on Thursday, Feb. 6 at 8:00 p.m. ET with preliminary rounds of slopestyle snowboarding and freestyle moguls skiing. Television coverage of the Sochi Games will feature an unprecedented 18 consecutive NBC primetime shows, beginning Thursday, Feb. 6, continuing with Friday night's Opening Ceremony and concluding Sunday, Feb. 23 with the Closing Ceremony.
LIVE STREAM Throughout the Games, every skiing and snowboarding event will be streamed LIVE on Stream.NBCOlympics.com and via the NBC Sports Live Extra mobile app (iPhone/iPad | Android).