Christensen's Golden Hour
This month in Russia, Joss Christensen, a 22-year-old Park City, Utah, native, brought home the first-ever men's Olympic ski slopestyle gold medal, the frontrunner in a historic American sweep in that discipline. Christensen wasn't necessarily a favorite for the gold -- he barely edged his way onto the Olympic team after getting the final coaches' discretionary pick -- and that made his victory even sweeter. After his win, media from all around the world featured Christensen, silver medalist Gus Kenworthy and bronze medalist Nick Goepper on teen magazine covers, cereal boxes and entertainment television shows. We caught up with Christensen about what it's been like since winning gold, wearing hair gel and whether he plans to defend his Olympic title in 2018.
We had a little heads up about the cereal box, but I had no idea it was going to happen that quick. That was a huge surprise on the Today Show when they said, 'Hey, we have a present for you.' I couldn't believe it. I mean, it's a bunch of punk skiers on a cereal box.
After the flower ceremony we had to walk this big circle and did a bunch interviews with a few U.S. news stations and newspapers and a lot of international TV stations. I was in a bit of shock at that point so there wasn't much to be said. My head was going everywhere.
They put makeup on me. I've never had makeup on before. They put wax in my hair. It was so new and foreign to me. I knew nothing about how to approach these situations, which is almost good, I think, to just try and be yourself. We were at The Today Show for about four hours the next day and did all these different interviews with Entertainment Weekly, US Weekly, Sports Illustrated and a bunch of TV channels. For me it was so insane.
I think there's been more coverage of the American sweep than us individually. We weren't really singled out. Between all of the insanity of my Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and everything blowing up, it's been pretty hard to catch up on it. The Maxim cover girl tweeted at me. That was pretty cool.
I had no idea anyone bet on me. I saw on Newschoolers a thread about the skiers' odds of winning. I saw a few people say, 'Oh, I'll put some money on Joss just cause his odds are so good for making good money.' I saw that Karl [Fostvedt] put $75 down on me and won close to two grand. It's cool people believed in and had faith in me.
In Russia, having the medal around your neck when we were walking around in Sochi, people would flock. They don't care who you are or what sport you competed in, the medal itself is a magnet. They just want to touch it or take a photo with it.
When I first got to Sochi this year, I was so excited and honored to be a part of it all. That was my dream, to be a part of this Olympics then see where life takes me. I've been planning on taking it back from the full contest grind and hopefully spend more time in my season filming. I really want to focus on filming and having fun with my friends.
I was thinking this would be the only Olympics I'd go for, but I've been thinking back after experiencing it all and with what happened that I have a little fire in me. After winning the gold I've been inspired to maybe try and make the next one. We'll see where the next two years take me.
A lot of times in these interviews, they're not really talking to me, Gus or Nick about skiing. It's more one of the stories they've already found for us between the dating or the puppies. Everytime I get a chance to talk about skiing I try and let the people know that we do it because we love it, we have fun and that competition is only one part of it.
It's about expressing ourselves through our skiing and letting our skiing doing the talking.