17-Year-Old Snowboarder Chloe Kim Earns Sweet Success With Gold Medal in 1st Olympic Event Ever
The 17-year-old made good on her dominant track record, easily winning first at her competition on Tuesday morning in Pyeongchang, South Korea
Can someone please get Chloe Kim some ice cream now?
The 17-year-old snowboarder made good on her dominating track record in the halfpipe event to date, easily winning a gold medal at her competition on Tuesday morning (Monday night stateside) in Pyeongchang, South Korea, at the 2018 Winter Olympics.
Kim — from Torrance, California — earned a whopping 93.75 in her first run in the women’s halfpipe finals that included a frontside 1080 (or three full rotations in the air) and front 900 with a tail grab. She was watched and cheered on by her family at the bottom of the hill.
The showing easily put her ahead of second place Liu Jiayu, of China, who scored an 85.50. And for the remainder of the competition, Kim never fell out of the top spot. (She even found time to tweet between her runs, writing, “Wish I finished my breakfast sandwich but my stubborn self decided not to and now I’m getting hangry.”)
Food wasn’t far from Kim’s mind, it seems: A day earlier, between the qualifying runs for the halfpipe event where previewed her first-place abilities, she had tweeted: “could be down for some ice cream rn.” A follower asked: Wasn’t she competing at the moment? To which she responded, “yes…”
Less than a day before qualifying, Kim shared on Twitter that she was “so nervous!!!!!!!” — then she posted an update minutes later. “Oh and I also had 2 churros today and they were pretty bomb so if you ever get nervous go eat a churro,” she wrote.
As she previously explained to PEOPLE, despite her many successes, she still deals with nerves before she drops into the pipe. But “once I’m moving, I feel fine and I feel relaxed,” she said.
On Tuesday, in the second run, American Kelly Clark topped her first score (76.25), earning an 81.75. Australian Kelly Arthur botched her showing when she tumbled down the halfpipe at the start of her showing, scoring a paltry 9.25 in her chase to catch Kim. American Maddie Mastro received a 7.50 after failing to stick a landing.
China’s Jiayu remained Kim’s closest competitor, scoring an 89.75 in her second attempt, all but cementing a medal and showing she was a threat for first.
Kim’s second showing saw her fall after attempting a frontside 1080, earning her just a 41.50. But at the start of the third run, after Jiayu fell on her last run, Kim had a firm grasp on the gold.
The real fight going ended up being for the bronze medal, with Team USA’s Arielle Gold scoring an 85.75 to claim the third-place slot held by snowboarding legend Clark, who came out with a great attempt to inch back into third, but only earned 83.50.
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Gold was supposed to compete four years ago, at the Sochi Games, but couldn’t after injuring herself in training.
Together with Kim’s gold medal, her bronze boosted the U.S.’s overall medal count to six.
American Maddie Mastro had a disastrous showing during her third run, falling after a 1080 attempt.
Jiayu was the only athlete left with a chance to dethrone Kim, but she fell while going to the 1080 — clinching the gold for Kim before her third time down the snow and giving her the opportunity for a victory run.
Even so, for good measure, Kim scored a 98. 25 in her last showing.
“I feel like now is a cool time for me,” she told PEOPLE in the fall, before heading to Korea. “I’m going to turn 18 next year. I’m going to go off to college, and I just think having that experience and going through all of it before another big part of my life comes around is going to be really exciting for me.”
The 2018 Winter Olympics are airing live on NBC. To learn more, visit teamusa.org.