Snowboarder Sage Kotsenburg became the first gold medalist at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games when he won the first ever Olympic slopestyle snowboarding event — and he did it by throwing down a trick he tried for the first time. So we decided to ask him about some other firsts in his life.
First best friend
I’d say my brother, Blaze. We’re pretty much best friends now. We’ve been best friends since we were little. We definitely fought a lot when we were kids but we remained best friends.
First celebrity crush
Probably one of the James Bond ladies.
First girl you liked
I don’t know which one was first. I feel like we were all crushing on each other in elementary school, but back then you didn’t show it.
Forced into it when I was in second grade by her friends and my friends. Her name was Rachel Bullwinkle. I don’t think I’ve seen her since second grade.
I believe it was our cat, Taco. I was probably the age where I just started talking because his name was actually “Gato,” but I couldn’t say it so I called him taco. And that became his name.
First time on a snowboard
It was 1998. I was 5. I got the snowboard for Christmas and it got me totally hooked. Before that I was a skier. My brother started skiing a little bit before me, but when my brother — who is two-and-a-half years older — was over skiing and thought it wasn’t cool anymore, I followed what my brother did. If I wanted milk for breakfast and he wanted orange juice, then I wanted orange juice for breakfast. It was crazy. So you know when he started snowboarding, I couldn’t ski anymore. I gave up skiing just because my brother got into snowboarding.
First sport you played
First sport I played was soccer. I was 4. I got into that and then baseball right after — and then basketball within the same year or two. I quit basketball first and then soccer. I kept going with baseball until I was 11 or 12. I just had to pick baseball or snowboarding and I picked snowboarding.
First Olympics you remember watching
It was the Salt Lake 2002 Olympic Winter Games when I was 8, and I was there. It was absolutely incredible. I went with my whole entire family. We all got tickets and watched snowboard pipe, luge, giant slalom. ... It was really cool seeing it in your hometown. I remember vividly meeting Ross Powers, Danny Kass, JJ Thomas, Kelly Clark. It was crazy meeting them and now I’m good friends with them. Quickly after that Danny Kass became my snowboarding idol. I just liked how he snowboarded, his style; his whole reason for snowboarding was really rad.
First time you realized you were good at snowboarding
First time I probably thought I was good, I think I won my first local contest against some other local kids. I was 8. I thought I’m better than them, but I don’t know what else is out there — and I hadn’t gone to nationals yet. But it gave me confidence.
|(L-R) Silver medalist Staale Sandbech of Norway, gold medalist Sage Kotsenburg and bronze medalist Mark McMorris of Canada pose on the podium during the flower ceremony following men's slopestyle snowboarding at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games at Rosa Khutor Extreme Park on Feb. 8, 2014 in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia.|
First thought that went through your mind after winning gold in Sochi
The first thoughts were disbelief, and those thoughts lasted almost the whole day. I just couldn’t imagine that I had won it. It seemed fake, dreamlike, surreal. Pick your word. It was just crazy to me. So getting that to set in took a long time. It finally set in when I actually got the gold medal. When I was on the podium and the national anthem was playing, that’s when I realized what had happened.
First time in the hospital
First time in the hospital, I was 7 years old. I was at my brother’s friend’s house. He was about two-and-a-half years older than me and we were throwing each other off the couches — or whatever it was, it was not a good idea. He threw me off and I landed on my arm and totally broke my wrist. My dad had to come get me from his house. I pretty much never hung out with him again.
First big purchase
I got a car when I was 17. That was pretty big. I got a house when I was 18. That was probably my first really big purchase.
First big splurge after Sochi
I honestly haven’t bought anything. I won’t say I’m stingy, but I don’t like spending that much money. Though we did rent a house in San Clemente, California, this past summer. We got one right by the beach and went surfing everyday. It wasn’t a purchase but we spent some money and got a nice summer home for all of our friends.
First time you flew on a plane
I was a baby — maybe a 1-year-old. We went to Disneyland. I don’t remember it. I started flying young.
First time someone questioned your name
I guess it probably started at snowboarding competitions. I was 7. The story goes for my brother and me because we both entered the contest. And my name is Sage and his name is Blaze. So they would be like, ‘Are those really your names or are you just putting your nicknames down?’ We’d be like, ‘No those are really our names.’ Everyone quickly learned that those are our real names.
I bought my first car myself. It was a 2008 Audi A4. I was 17.
I’ve never had a job.
It was a band my brother and I used to be so into. You know what, I can’t even remember their name. I’ve probably only been to three concerts in my life. I’m not really a concertgoer. I can’t even remember the name of the band we went to see when I was 14. And I was really into them.
First thing you learned to cook
Macaroni. The box taught me. I was probably home alone at some point and we had some mac and cheese in the cupboard. Survival instincts kicked in.
First time you were bullied (if ever)
Fortunately I never got bullied in school. I was always the one that if kids were getting bullied I’d feel so bad I’d step up. Plus I had an older brother, so I had confidence.