PICTURES

Winter Olympics: First gold goes to American snowboarder Sage Kotsenburg

Sage Kotsenburg of the US performs a jump during the men's snowboard slopestyle final at the 2014 Sochi Olympic Games in Rosa Khutor on Saturday, Feb 8, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP
Sage Kotsenburg of the US performs a jump during the men's snowboard slopestyle final at the 2014 Sochi Olympic Games in Rosa Khutor on Saturday, Feb 8, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP
Sage Kotsenburg of the US performs a jump during the men's snowboard slopestyle final at the 2014 Sochi Olympic Games in Rosa Khutor on Saturday, Feb 8, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP
Sage Kotsenburg of the US performs a jump during the men's snowboard slopestyle final at the 2014 Sochi Olympic Games in Rosa Khutor on Saturday, Feb 8, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP
Sage Kotsenburg of the US performs a jump during the men's snowboard slopestyle final at the 2014 Sochi Olympic Games in Rosa Khutor on Saturday, Feb 8, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP
Sage Kotsenburg of the US performs a jump during the men's snowboard slopestyle final at the 2014 Sochi Olympic Games in Rosa Khutor on Saturday, Feb 8, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP
Sage Kotsenburg of the US performs a jump during the men's snowboard slopestyle final at the 2014 Sochi Olympic Games in Rosa Khutor on Saturday, Feb 8, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
Sage Kotsenburg of the US performs a jump during the men's snowboard slopestyle final at the 2014 Sochi Olympic Games in Rosa Khutor on Saturday, Feb 8, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
Sage Kotsenburg of the US performs a jump during the men's snowboard slopestyle final at the 2014 Sochi Olympic Games in Rosa Khutor on Saturday, Feb 8, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
Sage Kotsenburg of the US performs a jump during the men's snowboard slopestyle final at the 2014 Sochi Olympic Games in Rosa Khutor on Saturday, Feb 8, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
Sage Kotsenburg of the United States celebrates his gold medal at the end of the men's snowboard slopestyle final at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park during the Sochi Winter Olympics on Saturday, Feb 8, 2014. Kotsenburg claimed the first gold m
Sage Kotsenburg of the United States celebrates his gold medal at the end of the men's snowboard slopestyle final at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park during the Sochi Winter Olympics on Saturday, Feb 8, 2014. Kotsenburg claimed the first gold medal of the Games on Saturday with a score of 93.50 in his first run. -- PHOTO: AFP

ROSA KHUTOR, RUSSIA - Sage Kotsenburg of the United States claimed the first gold medal of the Sochi Winter Olympics on Saturday, when he won the men's snowboard slopestyle event at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park.

Kotsenburg only qualified for the final in Saturday morning's second chance semi-finals and, following Thursday's heats, had criticised the judges' scoring after he failed to earn a direct route into the final.

But his first run scored 93.50 and although some of his rivals put in high scores on their second runs, the 20-year-old held on for victory.

Norway's Staale Sandbech (91.75) claimed silver with the penultimate run of the event while Mark McMorris of Canada, another who had complained about scoring following an unsuccessful heat, took bronze with 88.75.

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