South Korea Part Two: Going for Gold.

South Korea Part Two: Going for Gold |

{my mom and Red after he won}

As promised, I am back with more photos and plenty of stories from my family’s adventures in South Korea, and my brother Red’s Olympic Gold medal.

It feels like a million years ago that we flew over to South Korea, but really it has only been a week and two days. The entire trip went by in a blink of an eye. So much has happened. So much is happening. It’s craziness.

Let’s start from the very beginning…which was just a tinsy bit stressful. On the way down to Denver we got stuck in not one, but two traffic jams. When we finally made it to the airport, we parked the car and waited for the shuttle bus for over thirty minutes. This is SO unusual for the bus at DIA. It’s normally a five-minute wait, tops. When we finally made it into the airport, there was less than an hour left before our flight and we still had to check all of our bags. Somehow, someway, we made it happen just in time. It was down to seconds, but we did it.

That’s not all though. We made it through security and were walking up to our gate when my dad realized he left the keys to the car at security. If you’re at all familiar with Denver Airport, then you know it’s not easy to get back to security from the gate. But my dad being my dad needed to try to get the keys. Keep in mind, the flight was already boarding at this point. I think it took him about twenty minutes, but he made it, and we were the last people on the plane. Stressful? Just a smidge, but we did it, and thankfully that’s our only real mishap of the trip…I’ll take it.

The flights over to Korea were long. I’ve decided that thirteen hours on a plane is about ten hours too long. Brutal, especially when sitting in the middle seat, but all eighteen of us made it and arrived early in the morning on Friday. What didn’t make it? My bag. Out of eighteen people, the airline somehow managed to lose one bag…mine. I can’t remember the last time I even checked a bag, but because of all the snow clothes and boots that we needed to bring, simply carrying on a bag was almost impossible.

Thankfully, I had a lot of people I could borrow clothes from, but the boot and coat situation was not good. I froze my butt off most of the time I was in Korea and had to leave opening ceremonies a little early due to the fact that I didn’t have on proper shoes or clothes, my feet were icicles. A bit of a bummer, but I made do. My bag finally came, just four days late and right in time for me to head back to Seoul to catch a flight home. Figures.

Oh well, I think that was the one bummer of the whole trip, and looking back, it really wasn’t a big deal.

South Korea Part Two: Going for Gold |

{the family with their “Red” heads}

South Korea Part Two: Going for Gold |

{all Red for Red}

Once we finally made it to our hotel in Pyeongchang, South Korea it was late afternoon. We all crashed for two hours and then bundled up for Opening Ceremonies. Watching Opening Ceremonies, and watching my brother walk the circle with Team USA, was a moment I don’t think anyone in my family will ever forget, pretty cool. As mentioned, I didn’t stay for the whole thing, but the performances and the lighting of the torch were all pretty incredible. Red actually left right after he walked the circle because he was competing early the next morning. We didn’t get home until pretty late, but I fell right asleep once we returned.

The following morning it was up and out bright and early to head over to the mountain to watch Red compete. If you’ve been watching the news, or reading any articles about Red, then you know my family is a pretty loud crew. We cheered so so hard that day, and when Red made finals we thought it was the best day ever…because it was! He took the third qualifying spot and my family went crazy. We all celebrated by eating a mix of Korean food and cheese burgers, and playing pool at some hole in the wall bar near the mountain. After that, the days kind of went by in a blur. I’m not sure where the time went, but basically, we stood in the cold, cheered our voices away (literally), ate food, slept, and then did it again the next day.

We woke up Sunday morning with everyone excited but not really sure how the day would play out. We were all just pretty happy that Red had made it to finals. No one cared if he took first or came in dead last, we could not have been more proud, and so thankful to be there experiencing the Olympics all together. I honestly can’t say what I was thinking, because I don’t remember, I’m not sure I was thinking, I was kind of just experiencing…not stressing, but simply happy to be there with family in tow, cheering on one of my favorite kids.

The deal for finals is that each rider has three runs, and the top scoring run is what counts. So three chances to put down a winning run. Red’s first two runs were throw aways, as he slid out on each run and was sitting in last place. The pressure was certainly on for his third run. Watching that third run, you would have thought I’d be nervous, but as soon as Red dropped in, I could see that he had it. He was out there having fun, doing his thing, and I knew he was landing that run. What I didn’t know was that he was putting down a gold medal run.

When I saw the score I realized that Red had just bumped himself all the way up into first place. I looked at my brother Malachi and said, “oh my God, did he just take first? Kai, is that right?”. I’m not even sure Kai responded, he was the happiest I’ve ever seen him. Everyone was jumping out of their skin with excitement. But the competition was not over. There were still a few top riders left that needed to drop. Many of whom definitely had the potential to bump Red out of first place. Top riders that have taken gold before. Again, I should have been nervous, but I really didn’t care what Red ended up taking. Obviously first would be amazing, but he had already accomplished what he came there to do. He put down a kick ass run. He did is best.

But guys? That kick ass run held the top position all the way through and Red won gold!


South Korea Part Two: Going for Gold |

{Red and his long time agent Ryan Runke}

South Korea Part Two: Going for Gold |

{my mom and dad}

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{Red and his good friend Kyle Mack}

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{mom and Red’s Burton team manager Frankie Chapin}

{Photos via Mark Clavin and Malachi Gerard}

I’m still just in shock writing that out. Apparently Sports Illustrated predicted that Red would win the gold, but my mom made sure not to pass that along to anyone until after the fact. She knew he was capable, but didn’t want him to have any more pressure on him.

Not only is my brother is an Olympic gold medalist, but he was the first American to win a medal in PyeongChang, the first American born in the 2000’s to win a medal, and the youngest American male to win a gold since 1928. Kind of a big deal.

To say that my family was excited would be a major understatement. There really are not words to describe their happiness. I have never seen my mom and dad with bigger smiles. It was something no one will ever forget.

From that point on, the day was craziness. We got to see Red for about two minutes after he did some initial press and interviews on the hill and then he was taken away to do a round of media with my brother Malachi in tow. The rest of the family headed to get food (of course).

My mom and dad were invited to a special ceremony to congratulate Red before the Medal Ceremony that night. I was lucky enough to get to come along with them, and I am so glad I did, as it was my favorite part of the entire day.

While this mini ceremony was to celebrate Red, it was also on opportunity for Red to celebrate someone else. As Red started to give his speech, he told of how he learned that each Olympian who wins gold gets to choose a special person that they feel was most influential in helping them achieve the gold. Someone who has supported them through good and bad, and helped them to succeed. He said that when he was asked to choose this person he did not have a moment’s hesitation, he knew right away who that person was…I knew immediately who that person was too.

Malachi has been with Red literally every step of the way, but especially throughout this last year leading up to the Olympics. Watching those two together is best. I’ve never seen so much brotherly love or two people who can spend so many hours together and not become sick of each other, it’s incredible. I was so happy I was able to be there to watch that award be given, because in a way, Red’s gold medal is also a testament to Kai, and really to all of my brothers. It was a pretty special moment, and I saw tears in my mom’s eyes.

After the mini ceremony, we met up with the rest of the family and moved onto the real deal medal ceremony. We watched Red walk with Canadian riders Max Parrot and Mark McMorris (silver and bronze respectively), where they were each presented with their medals and the national anthem of the United Stats of America was played. Again, something I will never forget.

The rest of the night was spent hanging out at the USA house, eating food, talking, and waiting for Red to arrive, after yet another round of interviews. Red and his entourage finally came in around ten thirty pm. He was presented with some very special items from Olympic sponsors, and then, finally, we got a chance to talk with him for a bit!

After that we all headed home for some much-needed sleep!

{Red and Kai}

{the princess, little Miss Asher}

{Photos via Mark Clavin and Malachi Gerard}

The following morning, we were able to meet up with Kai and Red for coffee before heading over to watch the Women’s Slopestyle finals and see Miss Hailey Langland in action. Sadly, the girls had the most horrible weather conditions, with extremely high winds and cold temps. So proud of them all that they all went out there and gave it their best. Those girls are incredibly tough.

Once the girls had finished competing, Kai and Red were off yet again for more interviews. We finally saw them when they rolled into the hotel room around eleven thirty pm. We all snuggled into our family beds on the floor (interesting sleeping set ups they over there!), chatted for a while, and were soon fast asleep. The next morning, Kai and Red were off again, but this time to the airport. They headed back to the US for two days of interviews. They will be flying back to Korea on Friday (arriving in Korea on Saturday)…just in time for Red to start practice for Men’s Snowboard Big Air.

Pretty insane, right?

Red has been doing interview after interview, along with many talk shows. I’m just so happy he has his best friend along on this crazy journey with him.

Ok, I think that’s quite enough for this post. There’s obviously SO much more to go on about, but these are the highlights. More to come throughout the weeks!

More Photos Below…

Red on Jimmy Kimmel and Live with Kelly and Ryan

South Korea Part Two: Going for Gold | South Korea Part Two: Going for Gold |

Trip to the Coast

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South Korea Part Two: Going for Gold |

{me, Matt, and Caroline}

South Korea Part Two: Going for Gold | South Korea Part Two: Going for Gold | South Korea Part Two: Going for Gold | South Korea Part Two: Going for Gold |


*Special thanks to Mark ClavinMalachi Gerard, and Brendan Gerard for these photos.