America’s dragon

17-year-old snowboarder shatters records during gold medal run in women’s halfpipe

Gold medalist Chloe Kim of the United States celebrates during the victory ceremony for the Snowboard Ladies' Halfpipe Final on day four of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Phoenix Snow Park on February 13, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Chloe Kim became the first woman to land consecutive 1080s in a halftime at the Olympics on Tuesday, taking the Olympic gold with a run that scored 98.25 out of a possible 100 points. Kim, who scored a 93.75 in her first run of the halfpipe final, was the only competitor in the women’s competition to score above a 90 on any of her individual runs. Even before her record-setting final run, Kim, a California native, had already secured the gold medal.

“I knew if I went home with the gold medal knowing that I could do better, I wasn’t going to be very satisfied,” the 17-year-old said. “That situation, I did put down a really good first run, but I was like, ‘I can do better than that. I can one-up myself.’ The third run was for me to prove to myself if I did it, and I could go home really happy and excited.” Kim tweeted about being stoked about her gold medal performance after the race.

Kim grew up far from the snowboarding tracks — her father, Jong Jin, who was born in South Korea, used to drive her five-and-a-half hours from La Palma so that she could practice on Mammoth Mountain. On Tuesday, Jong Jin could be seen in the grandstands at the halfpipe holding a sign that read, “Go Chloe!” Speaking with the media, he revealed that he had told her “today is the day [she] will turn into a dragon” — a reference to a Korean myth in which a snake transforms itself into a dragon and soars through the sky.

Kim says she hopes her exploits can inspire others, young and old, to be bold enough to try new things.

“I think I was so fortunate to find my passion and the thing that brought me so much joy at such a young age,” she explained. “I think, you know, if you’re young — even if you’re old, it doesn’t matter how old you are — but if you find something that you really want to try, just give it a try. You’re never going to know. The one thing I learned is, just give everything a shot. You don’t want to live in regret.”

Watch video of Kim’s record-setting run below.

Read the full story at The Washington Post.

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