Gerard had been in last place before launching his board one last time at scintillating speed in the men's slopestyle final at Phoenix Snow Park to beat all comers.
Norwegians Staale Sandbech and Markus Kleveland slipped up during their last shots, too, leaving only Parrot in Gerard's way.
Canadian Maxence Parrot took silver with his final run, tipping compatriot Mark McMorris - the leader after two completed rounds - into the bronze medal position.
Gerard finished third among the second heat, with a score of 82.55 on his first qualifying run.
Gerard wasn't even born when snowboarding made its Olympic debut 20 years ago, and he now ranks as the sport's youngest USA medalist.
Canada was still looking for its first medal after Saturday's competition at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, but big results from the country's snowboarders, curlers and lugers suggested that a trip to the podium would not be far off.
For athletes who don't put up a good number with their first run, the pressure just got amplified for their second, and now final run.
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The youngest competitor in the event had taken Gold and got the ball rolling for Team USA in Pyeongchang after they won no medals on the first full day of the Winter Olympics. "Like I said, I need to pinch myself". "It's really unique to me and not many can people do it, so just adding that kind of style and technicality to my run is something I like to do and it makes me stand out".
Less than a year after a fall that almost claimed his life, Canadian snowboarder Mark McMorris was back on the medal podium on Saturday.
"Most of all, I'd just like to land runs, to be honest". He said, oh, whatever, X Games is a bigger deal to me. Conrad Gerard told the Post. So he never really watched the Olympics. McMorris's score of 85.20 left him just behind Canadian teammate Max Parrot and gold medallist Redmond Gerard of the United States.
"It was awesome", he said of his winning run. They were the heavy favorites going into the event, so it wasn't surprising.
The OAR team was put together after a doping scandal cast doubts on whether Russian Federation would be allowed to compete at the Pyeongchang Games, with Medvedeva one of high-profile members of the party.
Gerard had not won the gold medal yet - the event's three favorites were still to come.