- American athlete Chloe Kim successfully defended her Olympic gold medal on Thursday, becoming the first woman to win back-to-back gold in the snowboard halfpipe.
- Despite having the “worst practice ever,” the 21-year-old scored a commanding 94 in her first run, which featured frontside 10 and cab 10 tricks.
- Kim also made history during the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Games as the youngest female to take home gold in Olympic snowboarding.
Chloe Kim clinched her second consecutive gold medal in the snowboard halfpipe on Thursday, becoming the first woman in Olympic history to do so.
Kim, who claimed that she had the “worst practice ever,” scored an untouchable 94 after a first run that featured a method air, frontside 1080 tail grab, cab 900, switch backside 540 and cab 1080.
Upon finishing her first run, the 21-year-old fell to her knees in an apparent whirlwind of emotions.
“I just was so proud of myself,” Kim told reporters after the finals. “I probably landed my run twice when I’m used to landing it eight times, normally. So that kind of puts you in a weird headspace, and it just felt so inconsistent. I don’t want to feel all this pressure of not being able to land my first safety run.
“I was just overflowed [sic] with emotion when I was able to land it on the first go, and then it opened up a lot of opportunity for me to go try something new,” she added.
Kim did try something new in her second and third runs: a more complex cab 1260, which no woman has ever landed in the Olympic snowboard halfpipe, according to Team USA. While she fell on both attempts, she does not regret taking on the challenge
“It was worth it for sure, 1,000%. That’s what keeps me going. I wish I’d landed it, but next time,” she said, as per CNN.
— NBC Olympics (@NBCOlympics) February 10, 2022
Kim, who is Korean American, made history when she became the youngest female Olympic gold medalist in snowboarding at the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Games. She was 17 at the time.
Her final score on Thursday was a few points above Spain’s Queralt Castellet and Japan’s Sena Tomita, whose success came in their second runs. Castellet won silver with a score of 90.25, while Tomita took home bronze with a score of 88.25.
The contest appeared to be over right after Kim finished her first run.
“Not to discount any of these riders, but she has a bag of tricks that not anyone else does,” said Rick Bowers, Kim’s longtime coach, according to The New York Times. “And she showcased that in her first run.”
Still, Kim recognized her competitors’ strength and their contributions to the advancement of snowboarding.
“The girls are killing it, and they’re progressing at such a quick rate,” she said. “I find it inspirational that everyone’s out progressing the sport.
“At the last Olympics, you didn’t see that many 1080s, and now everyone is doing a 1080,” she added. “That’s quite the improvement, and it’s such an honor to be part of this sport and help progress women’s halfpipe snowboarding.”
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In a post on Instagram after her win, Kim said, “Today was insane! Thank you thank you thank you all for the love. It still hasn’t hit me yet but so so proud to bring home another gold!!”
Featured Image via Getty