Red Gerard surprised even himself by winning slopestyle gold as a 17-year-old at the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics, becoming snowboarding’s youngest athlete to win a title at the Games. A native of Colorado, Gerard grew up with six siblings with whom he built a snow park in his backyard.
As part of our preparation for the 2022 Games, NBC Olympics sent questionnaires to multiple athletes to learn more about their lives on and off the snow or ice. Here’s what we found out about Gerard:
Red Gerard, Snowboarding
Family & Upbringing
Tell us about your family.
I am No. 6 of eight children – six boys and two girls. My parents have been married for 36 years.
Who do you live with?
❝I really don’t ‘live’ anywhere. I am always traveling.❞
Where does your family come from?
❝Ireland, Sweden, Germany, Czechoslovakia.❞
How influential were your parents in your athletic aspirations?
❝My parents have been everything to me in my career, from supporting me through everything to traveling around the world with me.❞
Do you have any pets? Are they on social?
❝We have a mini Australian Shepherd named Merle. My sister has an Instagram account for both her and the dog: Merle and Asher.❞
Top spots in your hometown?
❝The Woodward Barn and the W[email protected] terrain parks at Copper Mountain Resort.❞
How has your hometown shaped who you are today?
❝Hanging out at the Woodward Barn definitely helped my riding to progress and to be able to take tricks out onto the hill.❞
Where else have you lived?
❝I lived in a suburb of Cleveland called Rocky River until I was 7. Much of our extended family is still there.❞
Lifestyle & Training
Typical training day?
❝If it’s the summertime I just try to stay active – getting on a good gym routine throughout the week, riding my mountain bike, etc. And if it’s not the gym, [it’s] surfing, skateboarding or golf. In the winter, I try to wake up around 8 a.m., eat breakfast and go snowboard. Snowboarding is really the only thing I try to do in the winter.❞
How much time to you train? How much do you sleep?
❝My training varies each day but I would say about three to six hours.❞
What’s your favorite workout?
My favorite workout is going surfing or playing golf – haha. I definitely don’t really have a favorite workout.
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Surprising things regarding training for Olympics?
❝Something surprising about my training might be that a lot of the training I work on is in my head, working on the mental side to my snowboarding.❞
Experience during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic?
❝I was in Lake Tahoe, California, for the lockdown and it definitely sucked. I was not getting the exercise that I wanted and sat around a lot.❞
Any nutrition plan? (e.g., calories, meals)
❝To be honest, I don’t really have an eating schedule. I just try to eat as healthy as I can throughout the day.❞
Reflection & Olympics
Earliest memory of participating in sport?
❝Hmm, one of my earliest memories of snowboarding is probably just going straight down a hill, then just sliding on my butt. I did not know much, I just knew I wanted to do it because my brothers did it. Then, later on, I found the joy and love I have for snowboarding today.❞
Earliest memory of watching Olympics or Paralympics?
❝I never watched the Olympics. I really couldn’t sit still to watch TV, I always wanted to be doing something.❞
Specific breakthrough moment?
❝Yeah, I think the event where I realized I might be able to snowboard professionally was at the 2016 Burton U.S. Open. I was able to learn my first triple cork in a contest. That put me in fifth place, up with some of the best slopestyle snowboarders in the world.❞
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What would you change about your sport?
If I could change one thing about our sport, it would probably be for us to get more creative. Our sport does not have to be all about massive flips and spins that, in my opinion, do not look good.
❝We can start to challenge slopestyle riders with more creative courses that can throw off a rider if they are not very precise. We can build different courses at different events so they’re not all the same and they really challenge the rider’s skills.❞
Who is your coach?
❝My coaches are Mike Ramirez and Dave Reynolds. Dave and I have the longer relationship, he is really more of a friend. I started working with him in 2013 went I got on to the U.S. Olympic Rookie Team and have worked with him ever since.❞
Who do you socialize with most within your sport?
❝I socialize most with my teammates. We’re all really good friends and we all hang out with each other all year long.❞
Most interesting teammate?
❝Oh wow, that’s a good one.❞
Close friends with any competitors?
❝I have become good friends with a lot of riders from teams in the EU, unfortunately, none from China.❞
❝I would say I don’t have any rivals. I just try to do my runs and then it’s up to the judges, so I see no need to have rivals.❞
Have you ever worked with a sports psychologist?
❝I have worked with a sports psychologist more when I was younger but want to start again.❞
Big obstacle that you’ve overcome?
❝I have been really fortunate that I haven’t had any huge obstacles. But this past year I had meniscus surgery that held me back from a few competitions. I was just getting back on my board at X Games this year. I would have liked to have had more time on my board before that competition, but again, I have mostly been really fortunate.❞
Biggest fear when competing?
❝My biggest fear I would probably say is getting hurt.❞
Olympic or Paralympic role model?
❝Oh man, I don’t really have a role model. I just try to do my own thing. But there are so many great riders who are constantly stepping up the game and keeping things fun!❞
Summer Olympic buddy?
❝I am not close with any summer athletes, but I would love to meet many of them.❞
Greatest influence within/outside sport?
❝Most definitely. I would say that almost everyone in my life has helped and inspired me along the way. From my family and friends, to random people you meet when traveling.❞
Advice you’d give a young athlete?
Have as much fun as possible, get a good group of shred buddies, and don’t take it too seriously.
Best part of living in the Olympic Village?
❝Hanging with friends – both from the U.S. and from other countries.❞
Where do you keep your PyeongChang gold?
❝This is kind of embarrassing, my mom keeps it in a fireproof box. But she keeps saying she’s going to find something to properly display it.❞
Play any other sports? How do they help you?
❝I skateboard and surf. They are all board sports so they probably help somewhat.❞
Which Summer Olympic event would you like to try?
❝Skateboarding or surfing for sure.❞
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Are you superstitious?
❝I am definitely superstitious, I don’t really know how to explain it though, haha. I know it is dumb.❞
Passions & Personality
Any teams/athletes that you are a fan of?
❝NFL: Browns; NHL: Avalanche; golf: Tiger Woods, Bryson DeChambeau, Jordan Spieth.❞
Do you have a nickname?
❝Some people call me Reggie. I guess it’s a combo of Red and G.❞
How do you unwind after a competition?
❝Hang out with friends and family, go out to dinner, just have fun!❞
Which charities or nonprofits do you support?
❝Red’s Backyard is a free park at Copper. And a low-cost park at Killington and Woodward Park City.
I believe strongly in finding a way to give kids the opportunity to try snowboarding. I hope to expand on this project once COVID is over. The Chill Foundation is another great organization.
What would you do if you weren’t an athlete?
❝Sheesh, I don’t know I live for sports.❞
Do you have any fears or pet peeves?
What is on your bucket list?
❝I haven’t really developed one yet.❞
Personal motto or inspirational quote?
❝Treat others the way you would like to be treated.❞
Women that inspire you?
❝I would say my mom is super special, definitely my girlfriend, and my sisters too. They are all inspiring women.❞
❝Skateboarding and surfing. I try to do both every day whenever I am in SoCal.❞
❝I’m a pretty regular guy – pants and a T-shirt.❞
If you could hear from one celeb, who would it be?
❝Not really into celebrities.❞
Favorite social account or person?
❝My family and friends.❞