UPDATE: Team USA women's hockey has also qualified for the semifinals after defeating the Olympic Athletes from Russia.
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By Liz Alper
Photo via Deadspin
February 12, 2018 (PyeonChang, South Korea) - If you’re close enough in age to remember what being a teenager and begging your parents for things was like, multiply that by 100 by adding immigrant parents and you have Chloe Kim’s childhood.
The 17-year-old’s parents, originally from South Korea, drove Chloe five and a half hours from Torrance to Mammoth Mountain to get her training time in.
On Tuesday, Chloe’s mother nation awarded her her first gold medal in her first Olympic games.
Kim gave a Red Gerard-esque performance in the women’s halfpipe snowboarding competition. Her second run wasn’t impressive, but her first and third runs were spectacular. She posted a 93.75 on her first run and an incredible 98.25 on her third run. Her American teammate, Arielle Gold, took bronze, knocking out five-time Olympian, three-time medalist and American teammate Kelly Clark and China’s Jiayu Liu took silver with an 89.75.
In the qualifying run on Monday and the finals run on Tuesday, Kim was the only rider to get higher than 90 points. On Monday, her first run was 91.50 and her second was 95.50.
Kim’s win makes her the youngest Olympic halfpipe medalist and second-youngest snowboarding medalist behind Red Gerard, who won gold for Team USA in the men’s slopestyle earlier in the Games.
Kim's cheering section reflected her Korean background; Mom and Dad were there, as well as her grandmother from Seoul, who had never seen her compete.
“I found out after second run she was at the bottom,” Kim said, “and I said, ‘This one’s for Grams.’ I hope she enjoyed watching it and I can’t wait to go shopping with her.”
When she won, she cried. “Those tears are obviously tears of joy,” Kim said. “My dad didn’t cry which I don’t get…My mom cried, my sister was bawling her eyes out on my hair. We’re all excited to be here together. It’s such an amazing experience. I’m happy to have done that with the support of all my family members.”
In other Olympic news, two-time medalist Shaun White goes for gold in men's halfpipe snowboarding on Wednesday after qualifying for the finals today.