Shaun White: How Chloe Kim emulated snowboard legend to make Winter Olympic history

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The USA’s Chloe Kim set Beijing alight as she defended her Winter Olympic title in the snowboarding halfpipe final.

The 21-year-old blew her competition away by scoring a mammoth 94.00 in her first run in the early hours of Thursday morning.

Her high-scoring opener allowed her room to experiment in the following two runs, where she attempted to land the fabled 1260.

Extending her unbeaten run which started in 2019, Kim had the breathing space and the confidence to attempt history in Beijing.

The 1260 is an incredibly difficult trick which requires the rider to complete three-and-a-half turns in the air. It’s a move that has never been landed by a woman in the history of the halfpipe competition.

Kim attempted the move in her second and third runs but she wasn’t able to stick the landing.

This didn’t affect her dominant opening run from taking her to the top of the podium, where she retained her Olympic title.

Kim is now just the second snowboarder in history to win back-to-back gold medals in the halfpipe event, following in the footsteps of legendary rider and compatriot Shaun White.

ZHANGJIAKOU, CHINA – FEBRUARY 10: Chloe Kim of Team United States celebrates after her first run during the Women’s Snowboard Halfpipe Final on Day 6 of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics at Genting Snow Park on February 10, 2022 in Zhangjiakou, China. Kim won the gold medal. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

Recreating Shaun White history

The USA now boasts two history-making Olympic snowboarders in White and Kim.

White is a hugely celebrated rider and his career is one to marvel at. The 35-year-old holds the record for the most X Games titles won as well as Olympic gold medals in snowboarding. He has also won ten ESPY Awards throughout his career.

White won his first Olympic gold at the 2006 Games in Turin and made history as the first ever rider to retain his title when he won once again at Vancouver 2010.

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – JANUARY 28: Shaun White gets fitted in Polo Ralph Lauren ahead of Beijing 2022 on January 28, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Amy Sussman/Getty Images for USOPC)

Like Kim, White demolished the competition in his opening run, and used his second as a victory lap, where he performed his trademark Double McTwist 1260.

For 12 years, White held the torch for his country — and indeed the world — as the only rider to ever win back-to-back Olympic gold medals in the halfpipe. But thanks to Kim, the legend is now joined by another trailblazer of the snow from the US.

ZHANGJIAKOU, CHINA – FEBRUARY 10: Chloe Kim of Team United States performs a trick in practice ahead of the Women’s Snowboard Halfpipe Final on Day 6 of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics at Genting Snow Park on February 10, 2022 in Zhangjiakou, China. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

Kim’s domination

Kim has now made history on numerous occasions. As a junior rider, she was the first female to win two gold medals at the Youth Winter Olympics.

At just 17 years old, Kim became the youngest woman to win gold in an Olympic snowboarding event. She is also the first rider to claim the title at the World Championships, Olympics, X Games, and Youth Olympics — the four major events in snowboarding.

Now 21, Kim is still a young athlete and has plenty of years ahead of her to continue the legacy she is building for herself. With her confidence and gold medals to boot, the sky certainly is the limit for the snowboarding star.

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