PYEONGCHANG, South Korea â€” Chloe Kim blew away the competition to win the womenâ€™s snowboard halfpipe gold at Pyeongchangâ€™s Phoenix Snow Park on Tuesday, the American teenager finishing well clear of Chinaâ€™s Liu Jiayu and compatriot Arielle Gold.
The 17-year-old Kim produced a top score of 98.25 points on her third and final run to beat Liu by almost 10 points in front of the largest crowd seen at the venue so far to live up to her billing as a heavy favorite for the gold.
Liu was the only woman who seemed capable of challenging Kim and will be delighted to earn her first Olympic medal at the third time of asking, as she also denied the United States a chance of sweeping the podium.
Liu, ranked second in the world, laid down a good first run to score 85.50 but Kim responded immediately and sent a comprehensive message to the rest of the field with an opening 93.75 effort that she made look easy.
Her performance put pressure on her rivals to raise their game and Liu, competing at her third Games, tried her best to respond with an improved performance on the longest halfpipe in Olympic history.
Liu scored 89.75 to close on Kim, who fell attempting back-to-back 1080s during her second run, but the 25-year-old Chinese failed to score higher in the final round, allowing the American a chance to enjoy what was effectively a victory run.
Kim launched into her back-to-back 1080s, the first method and the second cab, to score a near-perfect 98.25 and cement her status as the leading light in womenâ€™s snowboarding.
â€śI knew I wouldnâ€™t have been satisfied going home with the gold but knowing I could have done even better,â€ť said Kim, who admitted to being hard on herself and thought she could have done even better on that final run.
â€śSo that final was just for me and to show myself that I could do it and put down the best run that I could.â€ť