Nick Goepper made his second Olympic medal even brighter and more thrilling than the first, and he made sure to share his big moment with his hometown fans in the Lawrenceburg area.
Just when it seemed he would go home empty-handed, the 23-year-old slopestyle skier jumped from the back of the pack with a spectacular run in his last pressure-packed chance and won a silver medal Saturday night in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
“I spent the last 72 hours just visualizing this moment, “ Goepper said right after the results were official. “To put it down when the pressure was on and come away with a different color [of medal], that’s what I wanted to do.”
Goepper said he was “biting my tongue” waiting to see if his score of 93.60 would hold up for second place while the last few skiers took their final runs.
“That was one of the most intense, crazy slopestyle competitions I’ve ever been in,” said Goepper, who has come through nail-biting pressure plenty of times while also winning three straight X Games gold medals from 2013 to 2015.
“It was uncharacteristic of me to fall on my first couple of runs," he said. "I just want to thank my family and supporters.”
Goepper hugged his parents and sisters, who had been watching and cheering at the bottom of the course.
“What’s nice about Nick is that he’s a humble, grounded guy from the Midwest," Doll said. "He has those Midwestern values. He hasn’t forgotten where he’s come from. He keeps grounded, he keeps in touch with everyone around here. He’s always back visiting whenever he’s in town.”
His feelings for Indiana have been mutual, which explained why Twitter was flooded with congratulations from proud Hoosiers overnight.
Yaaay! 🥈 to Indiana. Boom. Cause we are so known as a skiing Mecca, this is amazing.
Goepper, who was fifth in qualifying, had to pull out all the stops on his last run. He was nearly perfect through the rails and jumps before stomping a triple cork 1440 at the finish. He might have won a gold medal, but the judges decided Oystein Bratten of Norway was just a little better. Bratten had a best run of 95.00. Canada’s Alex Beaulieu-Marchand had 92.40 to win the bronze.
The other American finalist, Gus Kenworthy, broke his thumb in practice last week and struggled to 12th place. Kenworthy won a silver in the U.S. medal sweep in 2014.
Way to go @NickGoepper. Nice job on bringing home a Silver for @TeamUSA. Way to represent Indiana!!!! To think you did that on your last run. The great ones perform well under pressure. Congratulations man🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🥈🥈🥈⛷⛷⛷