Team USA secured two gold medals on Wednesday as women’s half-pipe snowboarder Chloe Kim and men’s figure skater Nathan Chen each took first prize at the Beijing Winter Olympic Games.
Kim confirmed her title of queen of the half-pipe in devastating style. The 21-year-old who won the Olympic title at Pyeongchang 2018 blew away any opposition to win gold for a second time.
Kim put on a faultless display in her first run scoring a massive 94 points out of 100.
Meanwhile Chen, a three time world champion, put four years of misery behind him to win the men’s single skating today and secure America’s third gold medal of the Winter Olympics.
The 22-year-old ice star from Salt Lake City, UT, had confessed he, at times, ‘hated’ the Olympics after failing to medal in the Pyeongchang 2018 games, despite being a favorite to win in two events.
But Nathan, who will now hang his skates up to study medicine, was clearly in love with the games tonight as he beat 23 opponents to make his golden dream come true.
US snowboarder Chloe Kim (left) confirmed her title of queen of the half-pipe today by winning gold in the Women’s Snowboard Halfpipe. U.S. Men’s figure skater Nathan Chen took first prize at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic Games
The 21-year-old who won the Olympic title at Pyeongchang 2018 blew away any opposition to win gold for a second time.
Chen finally secured a gold medal after failing to get on the podium during the last winter games
Kim was overcome with emotion and was seen wiping away a tear as she was announced the winner
Double gold medalist Chloe Kim of Team United States (C), is joined on the podium by silver medalist Queralt Castellet of Team Team Spain (L) and bronze medalist Sena Tomita of Team Japan (R)
Gold medalist Nathan Chen of Team United States (C), is joined on the podium by silver medalist Yuma Kagiyama of Team Team Japan (L) and bronze medalist Shoma Uno of Team Japan (R)
The 21-year-old who won the Olympic title at Pyeongchang 2018 blew away any opposition to win gold for a second time
The skill and precision of Kim’s devastating run appeared to surprise her as she covered her mouth in excitement at the end. She later told her coach it was the best performance she had ever done.
But the superstar fell on her second and third run as she tried to perform even more difficult tricks to the delight of the crowd at the Genting Snow Park this Thursday morning.
Kim, whose parents Jong Jin Kim and Boran Yun Kim emigrated from South Korea to the US in 1982, told of her joy winning her second Olympic gold. But she revealed her despair that her parents could not be there to watch her win.
She said: ‘There is a lot of emotion here. I am sad that my family isn’t here. I’m sad that my friends aren’t here.
‘I’m sad that it’s not the same exact experience due to of Covid, however, I’m so grateful that we even were able to do this and come here and represent our countries.
‘That’s the most important part.’
Kim, who was born in California, has previously described her parents as her ‘number one’ fans, saying she always ‘looks forward to seeing their faces at the bottom of the pipe, cheering me on’, according to Get India News.
She also told PEOPLE magazine: ‘My parents, as I’m pretty sure the world knows, are so important. My upbringing and giving me a sense of who I am — they were the most amazing supportive parents.’
Kim, who has two older sisters Erica and Tracy, also described her ‘amazing’ mother as her ‘bestie’, saying that they do ‘everything’ together, adding: ‘She would work and she was like the glue that held our family together.’
The snowboarder said her parents guided her and taught her how to be independent, but said that she still found it difficult when she had to start competing without them, saying she would always call them so they could still ‘be there’ with her.
Previously speaking about her relationship with her father Jong Jin Kim, Chloe said he made her and her sisters figure things out on her own, which she said helped her with her ‘confidence’ as she realized she was able to do things on her own.
Kim put on a faultless display in her first run scoring a massive 94 points out of 100
The superstar fell on her second and third run as she tried to perform even more difficult tricks to the delight of the crowd at the Genting Snow Park this Thursday morning
Kim also has a close relationship with both of her sisters, saying Erica played the role of her ‘second mother’ and helped to take care of her while her parents worked, while she described Tracy as the ‘fun sister’, who she said she got closer to as she became older. She added that they have both been ‘very supportive’ of her.
Despite seizing gold during the 2022 Winter Olympics, Kim previously revealed that she almost quit after the 2018 Olympics due to anxiety, saying the ‘overwhelming’ response to her victory made her ‘hate’ snowboarding for the first time.
She told TODAY: ‘I was not expecting that kind of response. I got really bad anxiety, and I was like, OK, maybe I can’t do that again, because I just don’t know if I can handle it.’
Kim decided to take a break from her beloved sport and enrolled at Princeton University, where she was ‘mobbed’ with requests for autographs on her first day on campus, until she was able to reset.
She said if she missed it while she was at school she would return to the sport, and she came back with success this week after she took the top spot for the half-pipe.
After her win, the outstanding snowboarder told of her pride at landing such a high score in her first run.
Chloe, who began snowboarding at the mere age of four, said: ‘I was so proud of myself.
Kim told of her joy winning her second Olympic gold. But she revealed her despair that her parents could not be there to watch her win
The outstanding snowboarder told of her pride at landing such a high score in her first run. Chloe said: ‘I was so proud of myself’
‘I had the worst practice, ever. I probably landed my run twice when I’m used to landing it eight times, normally, and so that puts you in a weird headspace. It felt so inconsistent.
‘I didn’t want to feel all that pressure of having to land my first safety run (in competition).
‘I overflowed with emotion when I was able to land it on the first go, and it opened up a lot of opportunity for me to go try something new (in her second and third runs).’
Talking about her failed attempt to land the highly difficult cab 1260 trick Chloe said: ‘It was worth it for sure, 1000%. That’s what keeps me going. I wish I’d landed it, but next time.’
On her Instagram she posted, ‘Ow my butt’ along with a picture of her face in pain, to describe the severity of her crashes.
However her untouchable first run score was beyond the reach of any other of the talented list of snowboarders.
Spain’s Queralt Castellet came closest with an impressive 90.25 to take silver and Japan’s Sena Tomita was happy to take bronze with 88.25.
Speaking after her victory Chloe said:
‘I did it!’
Among those cheering Kim on was controversial Chinese freestyle skier Aileen Gu.
The Californian-born athlete congratulated the TeamUSA queen warmly, giving her a hug at the finishing line.
Kim, who was just 17 when she won her first Olympics at Pyeongchang, will add this second gold medal to her two world championship victories and her 2016 Youth Olympic Games gold, is now confirmed as the queen of the women’s snowboard half-pipe.
Her untouchable first run score was beyond the reach of any other of the talented list of snowboarders
Kim hugs and talks to Eileen Gu who won gold for China at big air this week Chloe Kim for Team USA win gold in Women’s Snowboard Halfpipe in the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics
Kim was all smiles as she held up the American flag and her boarding mittens after winning gold
Kim, who was just 17 when she won her first Olympics at Pyeongchang, will add this second gold medal to her two world championship victories and her 2016 Youth Olympic Games gold, is now confirmed as the queen of the women’s snowboard half-pipe
Chen was ecstatic after his victory as he hugged his coach and team mates as his result of 332.6 secured gold beating the silver medalist by more then 12 points.
Nathan, who was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, produced a sensational performance to Elton John’s ‘Rocket Man’ which was released more than 30 years before he was born to seal the gold medal.
The three-time world champion carried out a quad flip and triple toe loop , a quad toeloop, a single Euler and triple flip combination to complete his gold medal bid.
A highly emotional Chen said: ‘It means the world. I’m just so happy.
‘It’s a whirlwind right now, but I had a blast out there.’
Asked about his feelings of finally landing his coveted gold medal, he said:’ Too many to process but just overall very happy.’
Chen added: ‘I never really felt I’d be able to make it this far in my career.
‘I’d always dream about making the Olympics and winning the Olympics.’
Chen was ecstatic after his victory as he hugged his coach and team mates as his result of 332.6 secured gold
Nathan produced a sensational performance to Elton John’s ‘Rocket Man’ in his gold-medal winning performance
Chen carried out a quad flip and triple toe loop , a quad toeloop, a single Euler and triple flip combination
After his victory, Chen said, ‘It means the world. I’m just so happy. It’s a whirlwind right now, but I had a blast out there.’
He said of his performance: ‘Of course, there are certainly many things I could have done better, but overall I was very happy I was able to do the program that I put down.’
Japan’s Yuma Kagiyama and Uno Shoma had to settle for the silver and bronze medals.
American Jason Brown of Los Angeles, CA, finished in fifth place with 281.24 points.
Chen, who has also been a gymnast and has a passion for ballet, first put skates on at age three after he saw his older brothers playing hockey. He was born the youngest of five children to parents Zhidong and Hetty, who emigrated from China.
His parents arrived in the US without knowing anyone while his mother couldn’t speak any English, something which he said they rarely talk about.
He told the New York Times: ‘They tend not to talk too much about their struggles, but it must have been so difficult, coming to a new country, not speaking the language, not having much money, not having any friends. It’s amazing how they were able to fight through that.’
The dedicated athlete went to West High in Salt Lake City and Rim of the World High in Lake Arrowhead, before going on to study at Yale.
His ambition had always been to appear at the games in Beijing, and he took a break from his studies at Yale to train for the Olympics.
‘The Olympics are the end goal. It’s the driving force behind a lot of what we do and a lot of the decisions that we make’.
Chen predicted that he would make it to the 2018 Olympics when he was just ten years old in a national TV interview, and the skater has now achieved his dream by seizing the gold.
In an interview with FS Gossips in 2019, Chen said his coach Rafael taught him to be independent and said that along with his mother, they are his ‘greatest influence on me and thanks to whom I developed as a skater’.
The performance allowed to Chen to win the top prize after failing to reach the podium four years ago
Chen, who has also been a gymnast and has a passion for ballet, first put skates on at age three
Chen said it has always been his dream ever since he fell in love with skating to win the gold at the Olympics
Chen was pictured celebrating his gold medal victory with his coach, Rafael Arutunian (right)
Chen’s gold medal is the first for Team USA in men’s figure skating since Evan Lysacek won at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games
But in 2018, Chen who is known as the ‘Quad King’ and was favored to win an Olympic medal in the short program, fell on his opening quadruple Lutz and failed to land a single jump cleanly scoring 82.27 points, more than 20 points below his season’s best, and finished 17th.
He said : ‘Honestly, it was bad. I made as many mistakes as I possibly could have.’
In the men’s singles free skate, with six quadruple jumps, he scored a US and Olympic record of 215.08 points, the highest score, and pulled himself up from 17th after the short program, to fifth.
But he said: ‘Being in such a low placement going into the long, I just allowed myself to completely forget about expectations and just to be myself.
‘I got put into a situation where I freaked out and I didn’t know how to handle it. I had to figure it out myself. The Olympics are crazy; they’re so cool.
‘I didn’t appreciate that while I was there. Instead, it was like, ‘This is the most terrifying experience of my life. I hate this, I hate this.’
Now that I’m able to take a step back from that, I can tell myself, ‘Man the Olympics are really cool, you should have enjoyed them more.’
Chen was seen praying as he awaited the results of the competition and started crying after he learned that he won the gold
The champion had finished 17th in the Pyeongchang Games in 2018 and was determined to win this time around
Chen said, ‘Being in such a low placement going into the long, I just allowed myself to completely forget about expectations and just to be myself,’ allowing him to put on the best performance of the night in the men’s competition
Tonight he couldn’t have enjoyed himself any more as he waited to be crowned the figure skating king.
Chen’s gold medal is the first for Team USA in men’s figure skating since Evan Lysacek won at the Olympic Winter Games Vancouver 2010.
He becomes the seventh American to win the event, joining Lysacek, Brian Boitano (1988), Scott Hamilton (1984), David Jenkins (1960), Hayes Alan Jenkins (1956) and Dick Button (1948 and 1952). Combined with Chloe Kim’s gold in women’s snowboard halfpipe, this is the 12th time Team USA has won two gold medals in one day at an Olympic Winter Games.
The last time it happened was Feb. 22, 2018, when David Wise won the men’s freeski halfpipe and the women’s hockey team defeated Canada for the gold medal.
Watch all the action from the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 on Discovery+, Eurosport and the Eurosport App
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