Kim Turns in Big 1st Run, Defends Olympic Her Halfpipe Title

By PAT GRAHAM, AP Sports activities Author

ZHANGJIAKOU, China (AP) — Snowboarder Chloe Kim turned in a powerful opening run — one in every of her finest top-to-bottom performances ever — as she simply defended her Olympic halfpipe title on Thursday.

The final rider to drop into the halfpipe, and with the competition already over, the 21-year-old American nonetheless tried to go massive one final time. She fell, shortly received again up and casually glided the remainder of the best way down the halfpipe because the Olympic champion. She greeted her fellow medalists on the backside with an embrace.

On at the present time, the one actual drama was for second place, with 32-year-old Queralt Castellet of Spain taking silver in her fifth Olympic look. Sena Tomita of Japan held off Cai Xuetong of China for bronze.

Nobody was matching Kim’s peak or demanding array of tips. Not after a gap efficiency that featured quite a lot of totally different spins and rotations, together with a entrance and bottom 1080 (three spins every). That flawless run appeared to shock even her as she lined her mouth in pleasure. She later advised her coach it was the very best one she’s carried out.

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Kim joins fellow American Shaun White as the one snowboarders to defend their Olympic titles within the halfpipe. White completed the feat in 2006 and ’10. Because the defending champion from the Pyeongchang Video games, White can do it once more on Friday.

Watching the competition Thursday was IOC President Thomas Bach and Chinese language freestyle skier Eileen Gu, who lately gained the Olympic massive air competitors. They have been handled to fairly a efficiency from Kim, who gained on the 2018 Pyeongchang Video games as a 17-year previous. Gu gave Kim a hug after one in every of her three runs.

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