USA’s Kim wins gold in women’s halfpipe
PYEONGCHANG, SOUTH KOREA
Chloe Kim’s coronation is complete.
The 17-year-old from Torrance, California, dominated the Olympic women’s halfpipe snowboarding final on Tuesday, soaring to a gold medal four years in the making.
Kim put up a score of 93.75 on the first of her three finals runs and then bettered it with a near-perfect 98.75 on her last run with the gold already well in hand. With members of her family in the stands, including her South Korean grandmother, Kim put on a show that delivered on her considerable pre-Olympic hype.
Liu Jiayu took silver with an 89.75 to become the first Chinese snowboarder to medal at the Olympics.
American Arielle Gold, who pondered retirement last summer, edged teammate and three-time Olympic medalist Kelly Clark for bronze.
Kim’s parents were born in South Korea and moved to the United States, putting their daughter in an interesting position heading into her first Olympics.
Standing atop the hill at calm and brilliant Phoenix Snow Park — a stark contrast to the windy mess that turned the women’s slopestyle final into an ugly, borderline unsafe and crash-filled mess 24 hours earlier — Kim looked down at the crowd that included her parents, three sisters, three aunts, two cousins and her grandmother Moon Jung and proceeded to waste little time while turning the final into a global coming-out party.
She drilled her opening set, throwing in a 1080 — basically, three twists high above the pipe — before following it with a pair of flips (or “corks”). Kim celebrated at the end, pumping her fists as “USA!” “USA!” chants rained down. When her score flashed, she clasped her hands atop her head and drank in the moment.
Shiffrin’s event now set for Thursday
PYEONGCHANG, SOUTH KOREA
The women’s giant slalom featuring Mikaela Shiffrin has been rescheduled for Thursday, the same day as the men’s downhill at the Pyeongchang Olympics.
The first two events on the Alpine skiing schedule were postponed because of strong wind. Both will be contested Thursday but on different hills. The women will compete at the Yongpyong Alpine Center used for technical races, and the men about 30 miles (50 kilometers) away at the Jeongseon Alpine Center used for speed races.
The women’s giant slalom, which was supposed to be Shiffrin’s debut at these Winter Games, was called off about three hours before it was supposed to begin Monday. The same happened with the men’s downhill on Sunday.
Now Shiffrin’s first race in South Korea will be Wednesday in the slalom, where she is the defending Olympic champion.
Deep Canadian squad captures team gold
GANGNEUNG, SOUTH KOREA
While the stars of Monday’s Olympic free skates were a Russian and an American woman, Canada’s deep squad grabbed the team gold medal it so desperately sought.
The top spot was clinched when Gabrielle Daleman finished third behind Russia’s Alina Zagitova and American Mirai Nagasu in the women’s event. That gave Canada 63 points to 58 for the Russians with only the ice dance remaining. The Russians could only pick up a maximum of four points in that discipline.
Just before Daleman’s clincher, Patrick Chan won the men’s free skate against a weakened field, and with a mediocre performance.
Regardless, Canada’s quest for a medal its skaters said they set about winning ever since they wound up second in Sochi was complete with one program remaining.
“I worked my butt off incredibly hard these past four years to get on this team,” Daleman said. “We have such an incredible, strong team, and I’m proud to say we’ve won and I’m prouder to have been part of it.”
The United States was third with 53 points heading into the free dance and could still be tied by Italy.
The women’s free skate was historic for the Americans. Nagasu, whose career hit several roadblocks since finishing fourth at the 2010 Olympics — she was bumped from the U.S. team for Sochi in favor of Ashley Wagner by a federation committee — had the performance of her life. Not only did her teammates rise in applause, so did skaters from other nations, and not simply because she landed the triple axel so few women even attempt.