PYEONGCHANG, South Korea — Chloe Kim had already won the gold medal.
The other 11 competitors in the women’s halfpipe had finished their third and final runs here at Phoenix Snow Park, none able to top the 93.75 that Kim threw down in her first run.
But she wasn’t satisfied, having fallen in her second run and wanting to prove to herself that she could stomp her run and improve her already high marks. So the 17-year-old from Long Beach, Calif., put “MotorSport” by Migos in her headphones, and dropped in for her final run.
She dazzled to the oohs and ahhs of the otherwise mellow crowd as she climbed into the air, twisting her body this way and that way, stomping all her landings. She tallied a 98.25 to capture the United States’s 99th all-time Winter Olympics gold medal.
No other competitor cracked the 90 mark.
“Definitely could’ve improved a little bit from the third run,” said Kim. “I’m kind of hard on myself, but I’m really happy with the way I was able to handle the pressure today.”
Kim, whose parents immigrated from South Korea to the US more than 20 years ago, draped an American flag over her shoulders in the finish area, hugged her teammate, Arielle Gold, who had won bronze, and took her place on the podium for the event ceremony (the medal ceremony would come later), before finding her family at the bottom of the pipe.
Her grandmother was in attendance, the first time she has been able to see her granddaughter compete.
“I actually found out after my second run that she was at the bottom,” Kim said. “I was like, ‘This one’s for Grams.’ So being able to put that down was awesome. I hope she enjoyed watching me and I can’t wait to go shopping with her.”
In the family area, Kim’s mother, Boran Yun Kim, was in tears. Her sister was bawling as well. But her father, Jong Jin Kim, who famously quit his engineering job 10 years ago to help Chloe pursue snowboarding, did not cry, much to Chloe’s confusion.
“I have no time to cry,” Jong Jin said. “Maybe I’m going to cry when I go back home.”
Chloe would be busy for the next few hours, fulfilling media and sponsor obligations, and hopefully getting to eat. She tweeted in the middle of Monday’s qualification that she wanted some ice cream; in between runs Tuesday, she tweeted that she regretted not finishing her breakfast sandwich and declaring that she was “hangry” (a combination of hungry and angry).
“I’m so hungry,” she said in the news conference after the competition, where she was easy-going and goofy, taking videos with Gold and Jiayu Liu of China, who won silver, for her Instagram story.
She could go for a burger and fries, a pizza, maybe Hawaiian, she said. But that would have to wait. Her celebration in the immediate was simple.
“I think me going to bed will be a celebration today,” she said.
Back home is where the real celebration will take place for the Kim family. Her mother is the party planner of the group, throwing get-togethers at their house.
“So she’ll probably get something together for a little party for our family and friends — right, mom?” Kim said to her mother, who was sitting in the back of the news conference room. “Party?
“Yeah! Big party!” Boran Yun replied.
“Yeah, so I think all the celebrating is going to happen at home,” Chloe said. I’m so excited.”