Chloe Kim fulfills her golden destiny — from ‘baby girl’ to bone-fide dragon

7:01 AM ET

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PYEONGCHANG, South Korea — Tuesday afternoon, on a sunniest, warmest, calmest day of a Pyeongchang Olympics, American snowboarder Chloe Kim did what she was ostensible to do, what she was approaching to do, what she was unfailing to do. She won. It all happened so effortlessly, so positively on-script — and while she was tweeting about ice cream and sandwiches — that it was easy to disremember a fact a 17-year-old child with a vigour of dual nations and all she heaps on herself was means to close out a noise, concentration inwardly and land a dual highest-scoring runs of a women’s Olympic halfpipe final.

“I’m a small overwhelmed. This is a best outcome we could have asked for,” pronounced Kim, who became a youngest lady to win an Olympic snowboarding bullion award and a second 17-year-old on a U.S. snowboard group (Red Gerard took bullion in slopestyle) to win bullion during these Games. “This has been a prolonged journey,” she said. “Going home with a bullion is amazing.” The fate in Kim’s story is unfit to miss. Born in 2000, she was good enough, though too young, to foe in a Sochi Olympics in Russia. So, she waited and finished her entrance in Pyeongchang, South Korea, a city located a few hours easterly of Seoul, where her relatives grew adult and where most of her extended family still lives.

Those 4 years she waited, she and her father, Jong, trust were required to concede her to turn aged adequate and clever adequate to hoop all that comes with Olympic competition. He and Chloe’s mom, Boran, call their daughter “Ipugi,” a hybrid Korean word they contend means “baby lady dragon.” Chloe was innate in a year of a dragon, or a “imgui.” According to Korean myth, a dragon is innate a snake, waits 1,000 years then, on a inclement day, goes adult into a sky and becomes a bone-fide dragon.

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“Chloe didn’t wait 1,000 years. She waited four,” Jong told me final year, indication Tuesday’s competition. “At a Olympics, a ipugi will turn a genuine dragon with her large power, a bullion medal.”

Jong jokes that when his daughter is finished competing, he will open a Pink Dragon Snowboard Academy to manager other girls with Olympic dreams. But on Tuesday, he was focused on usually one lady and her dream. After Kim’s initial run measure of 93.75 catapulted her into initial place, he confident that dream was within reach.

“I was happy,” Jong said. “But a foe was not over.”

When Kim’s first-run measure flashed on a shade in a finish area, she lonesome her face and showed a initial external tension of a day. She’d landed a run. A bullion award was within her grasp. Before streamer behind adult a chairlift to take her second run, Kim stopped in a friends and family area during a bottom of a halfpipe and chatted with Burton Snowboards owners Jake Burton and Donna Carpenter, her sponsors given she was 13, and pro snowboarder Louie Vito. They reminded her what happened dual weeks ago during a X Games in Aspen, when her U.S. teammate, Arielle Gold, bumped her out of initial place and forced her to land an even softened run — and her back-to-back 1080s — on her third.

“We told her to be prepared to have to chuck down on her third run,” Vito said. “I told her to live in a moment, take a low exhale and find a approach to have fun.”

On Tuesday’s second run, Kim attempted those back-to-back 1080s, though sketched her alighting on a cab 10. When she forsaken in to take her third and final run, a final supplement to dump in a contest, she knew a bullion was hers. The subsequent 30 seconds were zero some-more than a feat lap. But Kim didn’t see it that way. “I knew if we went home with a bullion award meaningful we could do better, we wouldn’t be unequivocally satisfied,” Kim said. “I wanted to do a back-to-back 10s. we wanted to go bigger. That third run was for me to infer to myself that we did it, so we could go home and be happy with myself.”

At a tip of a halfpipe, her coach, Ricky Bower, told her, “You’ve got zero to lose. Try to get a ideal measure during a Olympics.”

Kim plugged in her song — she pronounced she thinks she was listening to “MotorSport” on that run, “Paparazzi” on her initial — forsaken in, launched a sky-high method, and afterwards stomped back-to-back 1080s, creation her a initial lady to do so in Olympic competition. She didn’t measure a 100, though her 98.25 kick her prior score, that was what she was aiming to do all along. Besides, Kim pronounced she wouldn’t have scored her run a 100 either.

“I unequivocally wanted to land a best run I’ve ever done, though we really could have softened a small bit on that third run,” Kim said. “I’m tough on myself, though I’m unapproachable of how we rubbed a vigour today.”

The tour to arrive during a Olympics has been a family affair, and Kim’s American and Korean families weren’t about to skip her debut. Her relatives and sisters, Tracy and Erica, flew to South Korea to support her, and this morning, Kim’s 75-year-old grandmother, Jung Ae Moon, trafficked from Seoul to watch her granddaughter foe for a initial time. She was wearing a black neck warmer with “Chloe” festooned on it and holding a print that pronounced “Go! Chloe Kim! Chloe’s Family” in Korean. She stood, bundled from eyebrows to toes, for a whole foe and acted for photos with her other grandchildren, daughters and family friends.

After her second run, Kim schooled that her grandmother was in a throng and told herself she was dedicating her third run to her. “I said, ‘This one’s for Grams,'” Chloe said.

“It’s unequivocally special,” Moon pronounced by Chloe’s mom, Boran. “I adore it all. we have tons of honour today.”

All 4 members of Team USA rode to make their country, coaches, families and supporters proud. Despite descending on her first-hit 1080, Maddie Mastro never reason back. Kelly Clark landed all 3 of her runs, any softened than a previous, and was competing by pain. Two weeks ago, during a X Games, Clark crashed on her second run in a finals and scans a subsequent day suggested a bone hash and detonate in her left tibia. Arielle Gold, who took bronze with her third run Tuesday, dislocated her shoulder on a second day of use here in Korea, and managed her pain with anti-inflammatories and gritted teeth.

“To be means to pull by that was about proof to myself that we am means to overcome anything that’s thrown during me,” Gold said. The same, she said, goes for her Olympic roommate, Kim. “Chloe is mature over her years,” Gold said. “There were a lot of questions entrance into this foe and we knew she would be means to reason up. I’m beholden to share a lectern with her.”

Tuesday morning, Jong texted his youngest daughter on a day a dual of them had been scheming for given she was 9 years aged to remind her of all that was during stake. “Hey, Ipugi, currently is your day to turn a dragon,” he said. But distinct a lore, Tuesday was not a inclement day during a halfpipe.

“It is not about a weather,” Jong said. “It’s a mental thing. It was a mentally inclement day. And she did it. we am unequivocally happy. It’s a dream come true.”

After a flower ceremony, Kim fought by an strenuous vanquish of media, coaches and fans to strech her relatives for a initial time all day. “I told them we desired them,” Kim said. “I told them, ‘Thank you.'”

After all a tough work, a years of watchful patiently for her moment, after overcoming a vigour of entering Olympic foe as a gold-medal favorite, does she feel like she’s warranted her full dragon status?

“Yes,” Kim said. “I’m a dragon.”

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