"I hope I made my father proud," he said. "Through all the injuries I've had, he's always supported me and never said stop. I hope he's looking down and smiling. Did it for him."
Christensen's first run in the finals produced a 95.80, giving the rest of the 12-man field a target to beat. None could top the kid with the floppy blond hair and easy smile that seems to embody a sport that often looks like it's just a bunch of guys taking turns showing off.
Kenworthy, from Telluride, Colo., was already planning to head home with a family of stray dogs that call the streets of Sochi home. Now they'll have some company -- a silver medal. He raised his arms over his head after his second finals run and burst out laughing when his score of 93.60 was revealed.
Goepper, the gold-medal favorite from Lawrenceburg, Ind., scored a 92.40 in his first finals run but couldn't top it in the second. He smacked his skis against the second rail feature, ending his chance of leapfrogging Christensen.
Not that it mattered.
"I feel amazing," he said. "I think today was the best display of skiing we have ever seen in our sport, so I am so happy."
Norway's Andreas Haatveit was the final skier with a chance to break the U.S.'s grip on the podium. While his last trip was slick, he seemed to know he would come up short as he crossed the finish line. Haatveit put his hands together as if to pray, then shrugged and gave the Americans a push when he ended up fourth.
With a gold medal assured, Christensen didn't exactly take it easy on his final run.
Twisting and flipping his way to his teammates, he pumped his arms in celebration. When his score was posted, the roar quickly morphed into chants of "USA! USA!"
"Just competing for the U.S. is so cool," Christensen said. "We're all representing. All our stuff has 'USA' on it. It's not like a normal team that we're used to. We can be proud to be on this team. Today was a good showing of our sport. Hopefully world recognizes how much fun we're having."
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.