A shining moment for Team USA during the 2014 Winter Games came Thursday, when Americans swept the first-ever men’s slopestyle ski event.
“It’s unbelievable. Just our sport being in the Olympics is huge,” gold medalist Joss Christensen said Friday on TODAY. “That us three Americans were able to sweep the podium is just so awesome.”
Christensen, 22, devoted his medal to his father, who passed away last year but had been so excited after learning that slopestyle would be added to the Winter Games lineup.
“’'When you make it, I’m getting a ticket to Russia,'’’ Christensen recalled his dad telling him. “He had so much confidence in me. I just wanted to hopefully make it here and make him proud. I can’t believe it happened.”
Christensen joined in the TODAY interview with silver medalist Gus Kenworthy and bronze medalist Nick Goepper, who poked a little fun at his Midwestern roots.
“The skiing center of the world is southeastern Indiana, where I like to call home,” Goepper said. "It looks like the Alps there, it’s crazy.”
But the lack of ideal winter conditions didn't stop the 19-year-old from going for his dream. He built a set of ski rails in his backyard so he could train in Indiana year-round.
“I skied on AstroTurf and PVC pipe on the slope in my backyard,” he said of his warm-weather sessions.
“If you want something bad enough and you’re having enough fun doing it, you can accomplish it,” he said. “You just got to get creative and find a way.”
All three medalists got a little cheeky with viewers in honor of Valentine's Day. Goepper even tried his hand at Russian with the help of Al Roker, who taught him how to tell the world he was "looking for love."
"Ya hah chu loob vee," he announced, with instructions for how to find him on Twitter: #IWantToDateNick.
In addition to the Olympic Village in Sochi, the charming trio now can also be found on boxes of Kellogg's corn flakes cereal. The limited-edition boxes are available online.
"Totally insane," Christensen said.