Chloe Kim (Torrance, Calif.) made her long-awaited Olympic halfpipe debut and rode away with a gold medal.
On her first run of the three-run final, Kim opened up with a 93.75 to take the lead over China’s Jiayu Lui, who scored an 89.75 on her second run to give her silver. On her third-run victory lap, Kim nailed back-to-back 1080s – the first in Olympic history – to score a 98.25.
Arielle Gold (Steamboat Springs, Colo.) nailed her final run to take the bronze medal with a score of 85.75, bumping three-time Olympic medalist Kelly Clark (Mt. Snow, Vt.) into fourth with a score of 83.50.
With the gold medal in her pocket, Kim still wanted more out of her third and final run. “I knew I wouldn’t be satisfied taking the gold and knowing that I hadn’t put down my best,” she said. “That third run was for me – to put down the best run I could do.”
Kim, whose Korean roots had made her a national sport hero, was visibly moved by the accomplishment. “Standing on the podium was insane – just realizing how far I’ve come as a person and an athlete,” she said.
Gold battled relentlessly all day – landing her runs and improving each time. “Coming in I knew I was going to need to land that run to be on the podium,” she said. “I was committed to it all three runs. I felt pretty relaxed going into the third run. I knew I could let loose and do everything I could.”
Her medal came with irony as it was earned at the expense of her mentor, Clark. “It was a bittersweet position to be in knowing it was between Kelly (Clark) and I for the bronze medal,” said Gold. “She’s someone I’ve looked up to ever since I started snowboarding – even more so when I got to spend time with her over the years and have gotten to know the kind of person she is. She’s been a huge support system for me emotionally when things get challenging and I’m grateful to have her here for this experience.”
Maddie Mastro (Wrightwood, Calif.), who finished 12th after sliding out on all three of her runs going for a 1080, a trick she pulled off for the first time in competition at last month’s X Games, echoed Gold.
“Kelly Clark has been an amazing inspiration to the whole sport of women’s snowboarding and it’s incredible how much she has pushed to progress the sport,” said Mastro. “The longevity of her career is another thing to look up to and be inspired by. We all respect her a lot.”
Clark put herself squarely into the medal hunt but fell just short in the end. “All the ladies are riding at a very high level today,” she said. “That last run was definitely my best run of the day. So much of the time the Olympics can be something that you can survive and just make it through. Today I was calling the shots and was in the driver’s seat. I enjoyed myself, managed myself well and rode well. I think it’s so easy to measure success by winning a medal, but for me this was an extremely successful day in the midst of it.”
The Olympic champion and three-time medalist reflected back on the impact of her career and its legacy. “Not many athletes get to stick around long enough to see what their legacy will look like,” she said. “This U.S. women’s team is an incredible group of talented young women and I’m so proud of them. I think my Olympic career could end today, but theirs is just getting started.”
Team USA women’s halfpipe riders have earned double-podium finishes in each of the last four Olympic Winter Games and have claimed 10 of the 18 medals awarded since the event made its debut at the Olympic Winter Games Nagano 1998. Kim’s gold marked the 99th Team USA gold medal in Olympic Winter Games history and was the 99th medal won by ski and snowboard athletes since the Winter Games began in 1924.
Chloe Kim Winning Run Trick List