(BEIJING) — American snowboarding queen Chloe Kim was crowned with gold for the second straight Olympics.
The 21-year-old took first place in women’s halfpipe, followed by Spain’s Queralt Castellet, who claimed silver, and Japan’s Sena Tomita, who took home the bronze.
It took just one run for Kim to post a 94.00, the eventual winning score, despite a best-of-three runs format. Kim took a victory lap in her third run as the final competitor. She attempted to land the first 1260 for a woman in competition in her second and third runs, but couldn’t nail it.
Kim’s winning run included two 1080s as well as a switch 900. In the end, it was far above her second-closest competitor.
Among those rooting on Kim from the bottom of the halfpipe was Eileen Gu, the San Francisco-born freestyle skier competing for China, who won gold in the women’s big air event earlier this week. Gu is a favorite in the women’s ski halfpipe as well.
Kim was the only American in the final, as the other three competitors couldn’t make it through qualifying. Maddie Mastro was expected to compete for the podium with a double-cork maneuver even Kim did not have, but she couldn’t land a clean run in qualifications a night earlier.
Kim won gold despite taking off the better part of two years in 2019 and 2020, as she enrolled at Princeton University. She took a break from school over the past year to focus on training and qualifying for the Beijing Olympics.
She spent most of her time training ahead of the Olympics, as opposed to competing, but she won the only event she entered this world cup season in Laax, Switzerland, last month. She also won in her only Dew Tour event this season, taking first over Castellet at Copper Mountain in mid-December.
Kim won gold in Pyeongchang at just 17 in dominating fashion. She scored a 98.25 in her final run — the only athlete to score higher than 90.
The win at the 2018 Olympics, and her personality, catapulted her to international fame. She appeared in a Nike advertising campaign alongside Serena Williams and Megan Rapinoe, had a Barbie doll released in her image and appeared in the Maroon 5 music video for “Girls Like You” and on the MTV show Ridiculousness.
The Southern California native has long ruled the world snowboarding scene despite her youth. She first competed at the 2014 X Games at just 14 years old, finishing in second place. Kim would’ve been a lock to compete for the U.S. in Sochi in 2014, but the sport’s governing body requires athletes be at least 15 to qualify for the Olympics.
Despite the disappointment of not being able to compete at the 2014 Games, she continued to perform at the highest level. She won a halfpipe competition on the world cup tour just weeks after the Sochi Olympics and won two golds at the Youth Winter Olympic Games in 2016. She came back to the X Games and won gold in 2015, 2016, 2018, 2019 and 2021. She sat out the X Games in 2020 and 2022.
Kim also won the world championships in 2021 and has finished first in both qualifying and the finals in every competition she’s entered on the world cup tour since February 2018.
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