Meet the athletes: Gerard rouge

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First memory of sports participation?

Hmm, one of my earliest memories of snowboarding was probably going straight down a hill and then sliding down to my butt. I didn’t know much, I just knew I wanted to do it because my brothers did. Then later I found the joy and love I have for snowboarding today.

First memory of watching the Olympic or Paralympic Games?

I have never watched the Olympics. I really couldn’t sit still to watch TV, I always wanted to do something.

Specific breakthrough moment?

Yes, I think the event where I realized I might be able to snowboard professionally was at the United States Open Burton 2016. I was able to learn my first triple cork during a competition. This put me in fifth place, with some of the best slopestyle snowboarders in the world.

What would you change in your sport?

If there is one thing I could change about our sport, it would probably be for us to become more creative. Our sport doesn’t have to be all about massive flips and spins that I think don’t look good.

❝We can start to challenge slopestyle riders with more creative courses that can confuse a rider if they are not very precise. We can build different courses at different events so that they are not all the same and really test the skills of the runner.

Who is your coach?

My coaches are Mike ramirez and Dave reynolds. Dave and I have a longer relationship, he really is more of a friend. I started working with him in 2013 and joined the United States Olympic rookie squad and have worked with him ever since.

Who do you socialize with the most in your sport?

I socialize the most with my teammates. We’re all great friends and we all hang out all year round.

Most interesting teammate?

Oh wow, that’s a good one.

Close friends with competitors?

“I have become good friends with many riders from EU teams, unfortunately none from China. “

Biggest rival?

I would say I have no rivals. I just try to do my runs and then it’s up to the judges to decide, so I don’t see the need for rivals.

Have you ever worked with a sports psychologist?

❝ I no longer worked with a sports psychologist when I was younger but I want to start over.

Big obstacle that you have overcome?

I was very lucky not to have had huge obstacles. But last year I had meniscus surgery which prevented me from doing some competitions. I had just come back to my board at the X Games this year. I would have liked to have had more time on my board before this competition, but again, I was mostly very lucky.

The biggest fear in competition?

“My biggest fear, I would probably say, is hurting myself. “

An Olympic or Paralympic model?

Oh man, I don’t really have a role model. I’m just trying to do my own thing. But there are so many great runners out there who are constantly improving the game and keeping things fun! ❞

Summer Olympic buddy?

❝I am not close to any summer athlete, but would love to meet one of them. ❞

The biggest influence in / outside of sport?

Certainly. I would say almost everyone in my life has helped and inspired me along the way. From my family and friends to the random people you meet while traveling.

Any advice you give to a young athlete?

Have as much fun as possible, make a good group of shredded buddies, and don’t take it too seriously.

The best part of life in the Olympic Village?

Hang out with friends – both from the US and other countries.

Where do you keep your PyeongChang gold?

❝It’s a little embarrassing, my mom keeps it in a fireproof box. But she keeps saying that she’s going to find something to display it correctly.

Practice another sport? How do they help you?

I skate and surf. These are all board sports so they probably help a bit.

Which summer Olympic event would you like to try?

Skateboard or surf for sure.

Are you superstitious?

I’m definitely superstitious, not sure how to explain it, haha. I know it’s stupid.

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