Kim wins halfpipe to continue U.S. snowboard supremacy

GOLDEN STATE OF MIND — Chloe Kim, 17, of Torrance, Calif., competes en route to winning the women’s snowboarding halfpipe final at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in South Korea on Feb. 13. Kyodo News photo

PYEONGCHANG, South Korea — Chloe Kim won her first Olympic gold medal in snowboarding at the Pyeongchang Games on Feb. 12 by blowing away her opponents with a near-perfect score in the women’s halfpipe.

Kim sealed the win when China’s Liu Jiayu failed to top the American’s first score of 93.75 points on her third run at Phoenix Snow Park, and sent the fans into raptures when she exploded into a near-flawless 98.25-point run to widen her margin of victory.

“It hasn’t really sunk in yet. I’m on such a high, an adrenaline rush. I don’t really know what just happened,” said Kim, who is the daughter of Korean parents and has family in the country hosting the games.

“I need to go home and process everything and I’ll probably bawl my eyes out some more, but this has been a dream of mine since I was a little girl, so just to be here and to be able to do it when it mattered feels amazing.”

In her Olympic debut, the 17-year-old American from Torrance, Calif. was at another level from all other boarders, many of whom opted for safe runs, putting down a sequence of tricks, which none could match before landing her signature back-to-back 1080s on her victory lap.

“I knew that I wasn’t going to feel as satisfied if I didn’t land that. Even if it was a gold medal I didn’t want to go home knowing that I could have done better, so when I landed I was so excited. I feel so much more satisfied, and I’m so much more proud,” she said of her 1080 combo.

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