It’s been three years since Chloe Kim won her first X Games gold medal in superpipe snowboarding, and two years since she confirmed her place as the woman to beat in the event with back-to-back gold medals at the X Games in Aspen, Colorado, and then Oslo, Norway.
Now on the verge of her first Olympic Games, the teen sensation is still favored to medal — if not win — at the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018, and even after her Team USA teammates put forth their best efforts at the X Games on Saturday night, Kim answered with a sensational third run to clinch the gold.
Kim led after two runs, but Maddie Mastro threw a 1080 and perhaps her best run ever to jump from sixth to second on her third and final run. Immediately after, Arielle Gold answered with an even better performance to leap from fifth to first and knock Kim to second and Mastro to third.
But Kim still had one run left, and she landed back-to-back 1080s for the first time in two years in competition to reclaim the lead spot with a score of 93.33.
“There was a lot of pressure but I’m so happy I was able to do it,” Kim told ESPN after her last run.
Kim, 17, became the first X Games athlete to win four gold medals before the age of 18, while Gold took silver with a 92.33 and Mastro got her first X Games medal with a bronze and a score of 89.33. All three will compete in PyeongChang next month.
Veteran Kelly Clark, who will be the fourth member of the U.S. halfpipe snowboarding team, did not take her third run following a knee injury suffered on her second run. Clark finished fourth with a score of 88.66 on her first run.