Teenager Chloe Kim has made it a Team USA hat-trick in the snowboarding event after clinching the gold medal at her first ever Olympics.
The 17-year-old dominated the women’s halfpipe snowboarding final on Tuesday, finishing ahead of the 12 competitor pack with fellow American Arielle Gold claiming the bronze behind China‘s Jiayu Liu.
With members of her family in the stands, including her South Korean grandmother, Kim put on a show that delivered on her considerable pre-Olympic hype.
Kim put up a score of 93.75 on the first of her three finals runs and then bettered it with a near-perfect 98.75 on her last run with the gold already well in hand.
In between her second and final rounds, Kim managed to take to Twitter to reveal she regretted not eating all of her breakfast.
‘Wish I finished my breakfast sandwich but my stubborn self decided not to and now I’m getting hangry,’ she tweeted.
Teenager Chloe Kim made it a Team USA hat-trick in the snowboarding event when she clinched an Olympic gold medal on Tuesday
The day before, in sub zero temperatures, Kim tweeted that she wanted ice cream mid-way through the competition.
Moments after her win, an ecstatic Kim said: ‘I’m so stoked. I’m so happy… and being here is so exciting, this has been a dream of mine.
‘It’s such an honour and do it for my parents. They’ve done so much for me and my career, I think, and I’m so happy with the outcome.
‘It hasn’t really sunk in yet. I’m on such a high, an adrenaline rush. I don’t really know what just happened.
‘I need to go home and process everything and I’ll probably bawl my eyes out some more, but this has been a dream of mine since I was a little girl, so just to be here and to be able to do it when it mattered feels amazing.’
Chloe, at 17 years and 296 days, is the youngest woman to win a gold medal on snow at the Winter Games, breaking the mark held by Swiss alpine skier Michela Figini who was 19 days older when she won the ladies’ downhill in 1984.
The Californian is also the first woman born in the 21st century to win a gold medal at the Winter Games.
Fellow American Red Gerard, also 17, became the first man to achieve the same when he won the men’s snowboard slopestyle on Sunday.
Kim tweeted mid-competition that she had made the mistake of not eating all of her breakfast
The 17-year-old, whose extended family from South Korea turned out to watch her pave her way to victory, finished ahead of the 12 competitor pack
China’s Jiayu Liu (left) took home the silver medal, while fellow American Arielle Gold (right) claimed bronze
The 17-year-old is pictured above celebrating with her family. Her extended family from South Korea also turned out to watch her pave her way to victory
The gold medalist celebrates during the victory ceremony after the women’s halfpipe final
Kim’s gold medal win was even more remarkable because finishing fourth was America’s Kelly Clark, who Chloe had stated was her hero and Olympic role model.
The Californian-born Olympian began snowboarding at the age of four – around the same time her hero Kelly Clark was wining gold at the 2002 Salt Lake Olympics.
Clark finished the event in Korea in fourth place and just outside of the medals, but was one of the first to congratulate the teenage sensation who she inspired to follow her golden footsteps.
Kim’s Korean parents emigrated to American in 1982 and her father took her along to the slopes to fuel her love for sport.
She said: ‘I was not so sure about the sport when I first started, but as I went snowboarding more and started progressing, I started to fall in love with it.
‘I just think I had more fun snowboarding when I was able to go into the air and do spins and flips.’
She had a ritual of knocking on her snowboard before starting a run.
‘You know how when you jinx yourself, they’re like, ‘Knock on wood’. My snowboard’s wood, so in case I jinxed myself sometime in the past, I just knock on my board. It just makes me feel a lot more comfortable.’
She added: ‘I don’t snowboard to win everything. I do it because I love it. I do it because I have fun, and everyone else can think whatever they want. For me, it’s all about fun and I enjoy it so much.’
One of the first to send their warm wishes was veteran US Olympic skier Lindsey Vonn who tweeted: ‘Congrats @chloekimsnow !!!’
Chloe Kim wipes away a tear after winning gold in the women’s halfpipe finals on Tuesday
The 17-year-old from California dominated the field of a dozen riders, posting a score of 93.75 during the first of her three runs in the finals and a 98.25 in the last run
Chloe’s father Jong Jin Kim said her gold medal had made all his sacrifice worth it and he pointed to himself and said: ‘American dream!’
He wept a single tear of joy as his superstar daughter claimed her medal.
Jong Jim Kim hugged bronze medal winner Arielle Gold’s father as the devoted parents celebrated to girls’ success.
Chloe’s grandmother was among 20 family members who watched her near perfect performance in ideal conditions at the Phoenix Snow Park.
‘Chloe was born in the year of the dragon but in Korean legend the dragon must live a thousand as a little snake. But after a thousand years it becomes a dragon,’ he told DailyMail.com.
‘I texted Chloe this morning and said today is the day that the snake, Emogi snake becomes the dragon. This is the time to be the dragon, I told her. She laughed at that.
‘I text her because she is teenager and she doesn’t really want to talk. She says ‘dad stop go away’.’
As his daughter competed, Kim held up a homemade sign made by the snowboarding camp where she had trained.
‘This is a sign made by the young snowboarders if mountain high. It’s so sweet that they don’t forget her,’ he said.
He revealed the special significance that his USA-born daughter had won the Olympic gold in Korea.
‘It is very, very special that she has won the gold in Korea. Although Chloe was born in America she is 100 per cent Korean in her blood. And blood is blood. So it is very special,’ he said.
In a throw-away remark, Kim revealed that he had only introduced Chloe to snowboarding in a bid to encourage his wife, Boran Yun, to try the sport.
‘Chloe was a decoy to get her mother to learn to snowboard,’ he said. ‘I never imagined that Chloe could get this far when I first took her out.’