- - Tuesday, February 13, 2018

PYEONGCHANG, South Korea | Chloe Kim stamped her name on a new era of snowboarding with a run down the halfpipe that, officially, did not mean anything. To her, it meant everything.

The Olympic gold medal was already hers but she knew she could do better. So she cinched on her gloves, cranked up “Motorsport” on her iPod, said “This one’s for you, Grams” — a shout-out to her South Korean grandmother, who was watching her in person for the first time — and dropped into the halfpipe to make history.

On the last run of Tuesday’s sun-splashed final, Kim hit back-to-back 1080-degree spins on her second and third jumps — repeating a combination no other woman has ever done in a competition.

She landed them squarely, sent her already super-hyped family at the bottom into overdrive, scored a 98.5 and sent out the message that everyone from grandma to those at the roots of this sport love to hear: ”I knew I wasn’t going to be completely satisfied taking home the gold, but knowing that I could’ve done better.”

The 17-year-old from California made it look easy, but only afterward did she concede how difficult the past several months have been. Her story has been told and sold and marketed for gold: Her parents both emigrated to the United States from South Korea, and though it was more coincidence than any grand plan, Kim making her Olympic debut in the country where her family was from set up a sure path to stardom in the halfpipe and beyond.

She has commanded the progression in women’s snowboarding for at least two years now, and it was hard to imagine anyone beating her on the sport’s biggest stage. But halfpipes are hard, the snow is slippery and nothing is for sure.


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“There is a lot of pressure revolving around these games,” she said. “You wait for four years to come here and it’s definitely a lot of hype around a 11/2, 2-hour time period. It’s pretty nerve-wracking. You know you’re at the Olympics. It’s been a dream of mine since I was a little girl, to land a run that’s very important for me.”

She didn’t have to do it.

In the first of the day’s three runs, she flew higher than anyone on her opening straight air, then landed one 1080, and closed with a pair of inverted spins, each with well-timed, easy-to-see grabs of the board that the judges appreciate. Her score there was a 93.75, which put her nearly nine points clear of the other 11 riders, none of whom would crack 90.

The rest of the day was a contest for second, and China’s Liu Jiayu, 24, won it. Third place went to another young American: 21-year-old Arielle Gold, who casually announced afterward that she had separated her shoulder here on the second day of training, much the way she did on a practice run in Sochi four years ago that forced her to scratch from the competition.

“The doctors (say) that the more that it happens, the less impactful it is,” Gold said.

Gold highlights

Kim’s win in the women’s halfpipe final was the day’s big story before attention moved to Alpine skiing and Marcel Hirscher’s victory in the men’s combined. Tuesday finished with a rush of six gold medals.

Canadian curlers Kaitlyn Lawes and John Morris won gold in the debut of mixed doubles, Kjeld Nuis led a Dutch double in the men’s 1,500-meter speedskating final, Italian short-track speedskater Arianna Fontana won the women’s 500 meters in a photo finish and Natalie Geisenberger successfully defended her women’s luge title in a 1-2 finish for Germany. In the cross-country sprints, Johannes Hoesflot Klaebo of Norway won the men’s gold medal shortly after Stina Nilsson of Sweden won the women’s race.

Germany led the gold medal standings with five by the end of the day’s competition, one ahead of Netherlands and two clear of Norway, Canada and the United States.

Women’s hockey

Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson can’t remember ever scoring twice on the same shift. The three-time Olympian looking for her first gold medal is just happy to give the Americans a bit of a boost.

She did it in Olympic record fashion.

Lamoureux-Davidson had the fastest back-to-back goals in Olympic history, scoring 6 seconds apart in the second period as the United States shut out the team of Russian athletes 5-0 on Tuesday night.

“I don’t know if I’ll ever come close to that again,” Lamoureux-Davidson said. “But we’ll see.”

With the win, the Americans remained undefeated going into their early Olympic showdown with Canada, which is also 2-0.

The Americans won eight of the last 10 world championships, including an overtime win over Canada last spring for their fourth straight title . But they are at the Pyeongchang Games trying to end a 20-year gold medal drought.

No medals will be on the line Thursday, just positioning for the semifinals.


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