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Redmond "Red" Gerard has one big advantage going into this next Olympic Games in February: time.
The slopestyle snowboarder, 21, tells PEOPLE that in the years since he won gold during his first Olympics in Korea in 2018 he has "more experience."
"Last time when I went, I think we were all just so young and really had no clue what to expect and all that," recounts Gerard during the Team USA Beijing Winter Olympics media summit. "And then, you know, when four years go by, things change. I think the number one thing is just getting older and doing more contests each year and sometimes getting on top of the podium or just getting on the podium in general, brings a lot of experience and makes you maybe a little bit more hungry for that feeling."
He continues, "So I think more just learning how your body works."
Paul Drinkwater/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Red Gerard
Slopestyle snowboarding includes a rider performing a variety of tricks and jumps down a mixed-terrain course, not dissimilar to skateboarding. In 2018, Gerard became the youngest American man to medal at the Winter Olympics in nearly a century (since 1928) after taking gold in the sport at age 17. He also became the youngest snowboarding gold medalist ever.
During the summit, fellow snowboarder Maddie Mastro, 21, also spoke to PEOPLE and reporters about how she's grown as an athlete since Pyeongchang.
"I think for me, I went through a lot of growing — not like as an athlete with context experience scaling and like, just like that whole contest experience of whether it's losing or winning. It helped me grow as an athlete," Mastro, who competes in halfpipe, says, adding, "But I was 17 — I was a much different person than I am as a 21-year-old now. So just growing and maturing mentally and getting better mental game and that all plays a big part in where I feel like I'm in a different place."
To learn more about all the Olympic and Paralympic hopefuls, visit TeamUSA.org. Watch the Winter Olympics, beginning this February, and the Winter Paralympics, beginning this March, on NBC.