Snowboarder Chloe Kim Becomes First Woman to Win Consecutive Olympic Halfpipe Gold Medals

Tim Clayton - Corbis | Corbis Sport | Getty Images

Chloe Kim has made Olympic history at the 2022 Beijing Olympics as the first woman to win two golds in the snowboard halfpipe. This comes after she became the youngest woman to win an Olympic snowboarding gold medal in 2018, when she placed first in the women's snowboard halfpipe at just 17 years old.

Kim, now 21, told NBC Sports she had a "really bad practice," but still dazzled the judges after her flawless first run won her 94 points. This put her ahead of other competitors significantly, and four points ahead of silver medalist Queralt Castellet from Spain.

The second-generation Korean American tearfully expressed her shock and excitement at the end of the first run and then continued to challenge herself in the second and third runs, attempting to execute a difficult trick called a 1260. This stunt consists of three and a half spins in the air before landing.

Despite not landing the 1260, Kim finished with grace as she embraced the other competitors.

"I'm not going to lie, I had probably one of the worst practices I've ever had, which does not put you in a good place mentally," she told NBC after finishing the course. "I was dealing with all sorts of emotions and self-doubt. But when I was getting ready to drop into my first run, I just reminded myself that this was a brand new run and I just have to land it now. And I'm so happy I was able to do that."

After her 2018 win in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Kim took an almost two-year break from snowboarding, her longest hiatus since she first took on the sport as a toddler. During this break, she spent a year at Princeton University, seeking a change of pace. 

Kim told NBC'S "TODAY" that her collegiate experience was a "good reset" and allowed her to grow "mentally and physically." In a news conference on Thursday, she also credited her break at Princeton for setting her up to win the gold.

"I made a lot of amazing friends at school and the thing that helped strengthen our bond was my openness with them," she shared. "And I'm going to stop keeping my mouth shut and tell everyone how I feel. A lot of the time, I'm not always happy and I get really bummed out, and that's okay."

Kim now joins other American women who've made Olympic history, like Lindsey Jacobellis, who became the oldest American woman to place at any Winter Games at 36. Jacobellis, a five-time Olympian, won the first gold medal for Team USA in the women's snowboard cross event on Wednesday.

Disclosure: CNBC parent NBCUniversal owns NBC Sports and NBC Olympics. NBC Olympics is the U.S. broadcast rights holder to all Summer and Winter Games through 2032.

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