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Red Gerard on winning gold: 'I think I'm now realizing how big this actually is'

One moment set him apart from the competition.

by Marguerite Ward / / Source: TODAY
USA House at the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games
U.S. Olympian Red Gerard poses with his Gold Medal at the USA House at the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games on February 11, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea.Joe Scarnici / Getty Images

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At age 17, Red Gerard is is still getting used to the big medal around his neck — the gold that locked his name in sports history.

“My neck’s getting a little tired to be honest,” the Olympic snowboarder quipped in an interview with Sunday TODAY’s Willie Geist. “It’s quite a heavy one, but I’m psyched to have it around my neck.”

The Colorado native took home the first gold medal for the U.S. at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang on Saturday, making him the youngest man to win a gold medal in winter Olympic games since 1928 when bobsled driver Billy Fiske took home the gold at age 16.

Snowboard - PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Games
Gold medalist Redmond Gerard of the US during the medal ceremony for the Men's Snowboard Slopestyle event during the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Games, South Korea, 11 February 2018.Jeon Heon-Kyun / EPA

The win, however, was anything but guaranteed. Each snowboarder has three chances to prove themselves. Before his third run, Gerard was in last place.

“My first two runs I just had some problems,” Gerard said, who added that weather conditions were “really windy.”

But on his final try, he had an incredible run, completing a backside triple cork 1440, the mind-boggling move consisting of three full vertical flips while rotating backward 360 degrees four times.

Editor's Choice: 11 February 2018
Snowboarding - Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics - Men's Slopestyle Finals - Phoenix Snow Park - Pyeongchang, South Korea - February 11, 2018 - Redmond Gerard of the U.S. competes.Dylan Martinez / Reuters

“You get a little dizzy doing it and you just kind of land,” Gerard said. “I don’t know, it’s crazy.”

Speaking with Geist, the young snowboarder described the moment his incredible accomplishment hit him.

TOPSHOT-SNOWBOARD-OLY-2018-PYEONGCHANG-MEDALS
USA's gold medallist Redmond Gerard poses on the podium during the medal ceremony for the snowboard Men's Slopestyle at the Pyeongchang Medals Plaza during the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang on February 11, 2018.Javier Soriano / AFP - Getty Images

“I soon got [it] right after I got on the podium up at the mountain,” he said. “I’ve been taken into all these interviews and I think I’m now realizing how big this actually is.”

Gerard’s six siblings and his parents couldn’t be happier. According to Gerard, they’ve been partying since they found out he had come in first place.

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