Contrary to popular belief, the first gold medal of the winter was not, in fact, won by 17-year-old snowboarder Red Gerard, who snatched the slopestyle gold medal in the 2018 Olympic Games from Canadian Max Parrot.
The initial golds were not even won in PyeongChang, but in Shepparton, Australia, on a beach, and not in the perversely intriguing snow volleyball, which is currently an exhibition event for the Winter Olympics. The first went to Amanda Dowdy – one of two guests this week on SANDCAST: Beach Volleyball with Tri Bourne and Travis Mewhirter – and Irene Pollock, who won five straight matches, the last three of which went the full three sets. Shortly after, Avery Drost – Dowdy’s partner on SANDCAST – and Chase Frishman, playing in their first international event together, claimed a gold of their own, making for the first gold medal sweep of the winter season, soon to be followed by American snowboarders in the halfpipe and slopestyle in the PyeongChang Games.
“I’m so happy,” Drost said afterwards. “They’re a great team. They play a fun style of volleyball. It was our privilege to play against them, in Australia. To be doing this with Ledge here, who’s become like a brother to me – I love this guy, and just so humbled by this moment, with this guy, with you guys, it’s so wonderful.”
Yes, it is wonderful. And, for Drost, entirely unexpected. He had written off the one-star events for the obvious reason: They’re entirely, financially speaking, unfeasible.
“I remember looking at the star system when it first came out and breaking it down and thinking these one-stars don’t make sense,” he said. “Financially it doesn’t add up. Points are great but this is kind of ridiculousness when it comes to finances.”
Read the rest of the story, and listen to the episode of SANDCAST, at VolleyballMag.com!
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