Victory lap: Chloe Kim takes her family on a gold-medal ride - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Victory lap: Chloe Kim takes her family on a gold-medal ride

ADVERTISEMENT
Bookmark and Share
(AP Photo/Gregory Bull). Chloe Kim, of the United States, reacts to her score during the women's halfpipe finals at Phoenix Snow Park at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2018. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull). Chloe Kim, of the United States, reacts to her score during the women's halfpipe finals at Phoenix Snow Park at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2018.
(AP Photo/Gregory Bull). Chloe Kim, of the United States, jumps during the women's halfpipe finals at Phoenix Snow Park at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2018. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull). Chloe Kim, of the United States, jumps during the women's halfpipe finals at Phoenix Snow Park at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2018.
(AP Photo/Kin Cheung). Chloe Kim, of the United States, reacts to fans during the women's halfpipe qualifying at Phoenix Snow Park at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Monday, Feb. 12, 2018. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung). Chloe Kim, of the United States, reacts to fans during the women's halfpipe qualifying at Phoenix Snow Park at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Monday, Feb. 12, 2018.
(AP Photo/Gregory Bull). Chloe Kim, of the United States, jumps during the women's halfpipe finals at Phoenix Snow Park at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2018. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull). Chloe Kim, of the United States, jumps during the women's halfpipe finals at Phoenix Snow Park at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2018.
(AP Photo/Gregory Bull). Chloe Kim, of the United States, jumps during the women's halfpipe finals at Phoenix Snow Park at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2018. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull). Chloe Kim, of the United States, jumps during the women's halfpipe finals at Phoenix Snow Park at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2018.

By EDDIE PELLS
AP National Writer

PYEONGCHANG, South Korea (AP) - 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, at her official coming-out party. But halfpipes are hard, the snow is slippery and nothing is for sure.

"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 1 1/2, 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 won it. She said injuries made her reboot and reconnect with her love of the sport, regardless of the result. It will be interesting to see how the 25-year-old's attitude shifts four years hence, at the Winter Olympics in Beijing.

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.

That bronze-medal run pushed Kelly Clark - she of the one gold and two Olympic bronzes - into fourth. This was Clark's fifth Olympics, and the 34-year-old left the halfpipe with her own future to consider, but knowing the future of the sport she helped bring to the masses is in very good hands.

"Chloe's an outstanding snowboarder, but I'm more proud of her for how she's handled herself as a person," Clark said. "She's handled success and pressure with grace and class, and it's refreshing."

Kim's journey included two years in Switzerland, where she lived with her aunt, learned French and honed her snowboarding skills.

Her father, Jong Jin, gave up his job to chase his daughter's dream.

Down in the fans section, where Jong Jin was joined by his wife, Boran, along with Chloe's two sisters, three aunts, two cousins, and her 75-year-old grandma, dad pointed to himself and said "American dream," then let out a big whoop.

"I did, like, a 12-year sacrifice, and finally I got my reward," he said. "Thank you very much (to) my daughter."

She put on quite a show, and she will be rewarded in ways large and small. Heck, her Instagram following nearly doubled, to 350,000, since she arrived in South Korea - and that was before she won the gold.

But deep down, she knows where the real thanks belonged. Her way of giving it was the classic run she put down at the end.

"To just quit work and travel with your kid full-time, leaving your wife behind and really chasing this dream because your kid is really passionate about this sport, I'm always so thankful for that," she said. "And today, I really did it for my family and everything they've done for me."

___

AP Sports Writer Jake Seiner contributed to this report.

___

More AP Olympic coverage: https://wintergames.ap.org

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • NationalMore>>

  • Admirers salute Billy Graham as motorcade crosses N Carolina

    Admirers salute Billy Graham as motorcade crosses N Carolina

    Saturday, February 24 2018 4:26 AM EST2018-02-24 09:26:05 GMT
    Saturday, February 24 2018 10:16 PM EST2018-02-25 03:16:33 GMT
    (AP Photo/Nell Redmond, File). FILE - In this Dec. 20, 2010 file photo, evangelist Billy Graham, 92, speaks during an interview at the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association headquarters in Charlotte, N.C. Graham, who died Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2018, at h...(AP Photo/Nell Redmond, File). FILE - In this Dec. 20, 2010 file photo, evangelist Billy Graham, 92, speaks during an interview at the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association headquarters in Charlotte, N.C. Graham, who died Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2018, at h...
    The Rev. Billy Graham's body will be brought to his hometown of Charlotte on Saturday as part of a procession expected to draw crowds of well-wishers.More >>
    The Rev. Billy Graham's body will be brought to his hometown of Charlotte on Saturday as part of a procession expected to draw crowds of well-wishers.More >>
  • After years of dejection, proponents of gun laws see hope

    After years of dejection, proponents of gun laws see hope

    Saturday, February 24 2018 10:35 AM EST2018-02-24 15:35:23 GMT
    Saturday, February 24 2018 10:16 PM EST2018-02-25 03:16:08 GMT
    The progression has become numbingly repetitive - mass bloodshed unleashed by a gunman, followed by the stories of the fallen, the funerals and mourning. (Source: AP Photos)The progression has become numbingly repetitive - mass bloodshed unleashed by a gunman, followed by the stories of the fallen, the funerals and mourning. (Source: AP Photos)

    "Our kids have started a revolution:" Teens' activism after Florida school shooting has some hopeful for action on gun policy.

    More >>

    "Our kids have started a revolution:" Teens' activism after Florida school shooting has some hopeful for action on gun policy.

    More >>
  • NRA, Florida face backlash after latest school shooting

    NRA, Florida face backlash after latest school shooting

    Saturday, February 24 2018 4:36 AM EST2018-02-24 09:36:41 GMT
    Saturday, February 24 2018 10:15 PM EST2018-02-25 03:15:56 GMT
    (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File). FILE- In this Feb. 15, 2006, file photo, BlackRock headquarters is shown in New York. U.S. companies are taking a closer look at investments, co-branding deals and other ties to the gun industry and its public face, the ...(AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File). FILE- In this Feb. 15, 2006, file photo, BlackRock headquarters is shown in New York. U.S. companies are taking a closer look at investments, co-branding deals and other ties to the gun industry and its public face, the ...

    NRA faces corporate backlash after latest school shooting.

    More >>

    NRA faces corporate backlash after latest school shooting.

    More >>
  • 2018 Winter Olympics2018 Winter OlympicsMore>>

  • Head of US Alpine team to AP: 'Have to rebuild' before 2022

    Head of US Alpine team to AP: 'Have to rebuild' before 2022

    Saturday, February 24 2018 12:25 AM EST2018-02-24 05:25:05 GMT
    Saturday, February 24 2018 7:27 PM EST2018-02-25 00:27:42 GMT
    (AP Photo/Kerstin Joensson, File). FILE - In this Oct. 14, 2011, file photo, Alpine director Patrick Riml of the United States ski team looks on during the presentation of the United States ski team in Innsbruck, Austria. Riml tells the AP that his men...(AP Photo/Kerstin Joensson, File). FILE - In this Oct. 14, 2011, file photo, Alpine director Patrick Riml of the United States ski team looks on during the presentation of the United States ski team in Innsbruck, Austria. Riml tells the AP that his men...
    The head of the U.S. Alpine skiing team told the AP that his team has to rebuild before the 2022 Olympics.More >>
    The head of the U.S. Alpine skiing team told the AP that his team has to rebuild before the 2022 Olympics.More >>
  • The Latest: Czech star Ledecka secures rare Olympic double

    The Latest: Czech star Ledecka secures rare Olympic double

    Friday, February 23 2018 8:14 PM EST2018-02-24 01:14:57 GMT
    Saturday, February 24 2018 4:15 PM EST2018-02-24 21:15:52 GMT
    (AP Photo/Michael Sohn). Driver Nadezhda Sergeeva and Anastasia Kocherzhova of the Olympic Athletes of Russia take a curve in their third heat during the women's two-man bobsled final at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Wednesday, ...(AP Photo/Michael Sohn). Driver Nadezhda Sergeeva and Anastasia Kocherzhova of the Olympic Athletes of Russia take a curve in their third heat during the women's two-man bobsled final at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Wednesday, ...

    The International Bobsled and Skeleton Federation says it isn't commenting yet on an alleged anti-doping rule violation by Russian women's bobsledder Nadezhda Sergeeva.

    More >>

    The International Bobsled and Skeleton Federation says it isn't commenting yet on an alleged anti-doping rule violation by Russian women's bobsledder Nadezhda Sergeeva.

    More >>
  • Chapter 2: Ledecka wins gold again, this time on a snowboard

    Chapter 2: Ledecka wins gold again, this time on a snowboard

    Saturday, February 24 2018 1:15 AM EST2018-02-24 06:15:03 GMT
    Saturday, February 24 2018 3:04 PM EST2018-02-24 20:04:24 GMT
    (AP Photo/Gregory Bull). Ester Ledecka, of the Czech Republic, runs the course during the women's parallel giant slalom semifinal at Phoenix Snow Park at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Saturday, Feb. 24, 2018.(AP Photo/Gregory Bull). Ester Ledecka, of the Czech Republic, runs the course during the women's parallel giant slalom semifinal at Phoenix Snow Park at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Saturday, Feb. 24, 2018.
    Ester Ledecka won the second leg of an unheard-of Olympic double, taking the gold medal in snowboarding's parallel giant slalom Saturday to go to her surprise win in the Alpine super-G earlier in the games.More >>
    Ester Ledecka won the second leg of an unheard-of Olympic double, taking the gold medal in snowboarding's parallel giant slalom Saturday to go to her surprise win in the Alpine super-G earlier in the games.More >>
Powered by Frankly