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.
YESSSSS!! 🥈 FOR @NickGoepper!!! pic.twitter.com/NuShOZTzC1— U.S. Ski & Snowboard Team (@usskiteam) February 18, 2018
Short of winning the gold, Goepper said it was just what he’d been dreaming of after winning a bronze medal four years ago and overcoming depression that had threatened his career and even led to thoughts of suicide.
“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.
When you see your family for the first time after winning your second OLYMPIC MEDAL! 😍🥈🇺🇸 @NickGoepper pic.twitter.com/6ySrMd1P4u— U.S. Ski & Snowboard Team (@usskiteam) February 18, 2018
Gang’s all here! 💙@NickGoepper’s family supported him to #SILVER! pic.twitter.com/hrl5HC4s9B— U.S. Olympic Team (@TeamUSA) February 18, 2018
Earlier, Goepper, who got his trick-skiing start as a kid at Perfect North Slopes, had used a free moment in the competition to lean into the TV camera and give a shoutout to his fans at home.
“What’s up, Perfect North? What’s up, Indiana?” he said with a grin.
Nice shootout to Indiana @NickGoepper @TeamUSA pic.twitter.com/6CjeyqZOrV— Karl Behrens (@karlbehrens) February 18, 2018
At the time, Goepper had just crushed his first qualifying run, and he was about to learn that his score of 92.50 would give him an early lead.
Back home, about 100 people gathered at Perfect North for a watch party clapped and cheered.
Operations Manager Tim Doll said the "hype was through the roof."
Goepper, who grew up in Hidden Valley Lake just across Indiana 1 from Perfect North, has always spoken proudly of his small-town Indiana roots and his humble beginnings on the small slopes.
“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.— Sabrina (@CookWithSabrina) February 18, 2018
Incredible @NickGoepper !! Beyond proud of you bringing home that #Silver ! 🥈🇺🇸 #TeamIndiana #TeamUSA #USA— AJ Graves (@ajgraves14) February 18, 2018
@NickGoepper makes me happy to call @skiridetubepns my home Hill❤️— Jess Arling (@JessicaArling) February 18, 2018
@NickGoepper takes Silver!! Way to represent the US and Lawrenceburg! #BestOfUS 🇺🇸🥈— Jordan 🌸 (@JordanNicole649) February 18, 2018
SEE more tweets below.
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.
SEE the results from the finals and qualifying.
So proud of Indiana’s two-time medal winner @NickGoepper!! Moments after he won the Silver Medal in the Ski SlopeStyle today, we took this Hoosier Selfie! #IndianaProud #WinterOlympics @wthrcom pic.twitter.com/ZCYqE2l5vl— Carlos Diaz (@CarlosWTHR) February 18, 2018
@NickGoepper congrats kid on that silver🥈 from the football pitch to Olympic podium... again. Who would’ve thought? Making us all proud back home! Legendary stuff bro! 🔥👌🏼✨— Teddy Kerr (@Tkerr93) February 18, 2018
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🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🥈🥈🥈⛷⛷⛷— Ayden Jent (@Ajent20) February 18, 2018
Kiddos will be excited to see you meddled when they wake up! Representing USA & Indiana! ❤🇺🇸🏂🇺🇸🥇— Dawn Lucas (@DawnDawnLucas) February 18, 2018
@NickGoepper Congratulations!— David Harold K (@David79Yale) February 18, 2018
You were awesome on skis. more important, you seem at least as awesome off your skis THANK YOU!
Nick Goepper just shouted out Perfect North. Most of USA doesn't know it often has fake snow 😁 #PeyongChang2018 #Olympics2018 #Olympics— Jamie Sanders (@jamiesanders24) February 18, 2018