Goepper: “It Was Incredible”
By Mike Perleberg
(Undated) – From the 400-foot “mountain” at Perfect North Slopes, to the biggest stage in winter sports, Nick Goepper made a dream come true Thursday.
The 19-year-old from Hidden Valley grabbed bronze in the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia in men’s ski slopestyle. He was among the Americans to sweep the podium, just the third time such a feat has been accomplished by a U.S. Olympic team and the first since 2002 in men’s snowboarding.
Goepper said it was a great debut for himself and ski slopestyle in the Olympics.
“It was incredible. To come out on the podium I couldn’t be happier,” the former East Central High School student said. “To have a field of 30 or 40 guys and whittle it down to three and to be one of those three on the podium is…I think I just have to sit back and realize how surreal this is. I think it’s going to give the U.S. a lot more confidence and it’s going to get a lot of people really excited. We couldn’t have asked for a better way to debut the sport to the world.”
Goepper finished behind gold medalist Joss Christensen of Park City, Utah and silver medalist Gus Kenworthy of Telluride, Colorado. Though he is ranked first in the world in the sport, Goepper said days like Thursday show that anybody can be the best on any given day.
“Everyone is so good and all the runs are changing and getting better every day. The progression is steadily climbing and there’s guys bringing out new tricks every day. I think everyone waited to bring the big guns out until the Olympics,” Goepper said.
Kenworthy gave props to his teammates on the podium.
“Joss I’ve known since I was 12 years old and I’m so happy for him with the win. He skied amazingly,” the silver winner said. “And Nick is always the guy you’re looking to at the contest. He’s the one to beat. He’s so talented. He’s so consistent. So it’s an honor to be with them.”
Goepper and his family will remain in Sochi for the time being, but with Olympic competition behind him – at least until 2018 in South Korea – he can simply concentrate on having simply enjoying his best sport.
“Everyone keeps talking about fun in slopestyle skiing and I think that’s what makes it so cool is there such a cool creative element to what we do. It never really gets stale. I think a good comparison is when we’re done competing, we go out the next day and for fun we just go skiing. We would hit this same course tomorrow and just work on our own personal style and work on our own flavor on all our different tricks. Say like NFL players, I don’t think for fun they go out on an off day and smash into each other.”