Silverthorne-based snowboarder Red Gerard, 17, has earned a lot of hype heading into the 2018 Winter Olympics as he has the potential to become the youngest American snowboarder to medal at an Olympic Games. But another Colorado teenager is fast becoming a favorite to bring home a medal for the United States.
Eagle’s Jake Pates is just 19, but he’s built a resume that makes him one of the top Americans competing in PyeongChang, South Korea.
Pates already owns a pair of gold medals, won at the 2016 Youth Olympic Games in Lillehammer. The Boulder-born boarder stood atop the podium in halfpipe and slopestyle two years ago in Norway. He’ll compete in the halfpipe competition in South Korea.
Halfpipe has proved to be Pates’ best discipline of late, as he turned in a shocking first-place finish just this past December at the Dew Tour final in Breckenridge. Considered a long-shot to make the podium against competition like Shaun White and Ben Ferguson, Pates put on a show for the home state crowd and thrust himself into the Olympic conversation.
“I felt like I was dreaming [when I saw the score], I don’t know, that was crazy,” Pates said in an interview with TeamUSA.org at the conclusion of the competition. “I don’t even really know what to say right now. This is insane.”
Pates locked up his spot on the U.S. team for 2018 with a fourth-place finish in the U.S. Grand Prix at Snowmass in mid-January.
He’s not the youngest Olympic snowboarder hailing from Colorado, but this teenager might just be the Centennial State’s best shot at a snowboarding medal in 2018.
Men’s snowboard halfpipe competition begins Feb. 12.
Feature Image Provided by U.S. Ski & Snowboard Association