The 1st time they met, Chloe Kim was in awe. And why not? Kelly Clark was, soon after all, an Olympic gold medalist and 1 of most effective snowboarders in the world.
“My moms and dads had been, like, ‘Oh my gosh, you touched Kelly Clark’s jacket,'” Kim explained of that day, almost 10 many years back, in the raise line at Mammoth Mountain.
Kim explained she felt like the luckiest woman in the world to get to ride up the chairlift with Clark.
These days, the friendship stays robust, and all those rides to the leading guide to significantly grander pursuits.
At 17, Kim is the favored to gain the Olympic halfpipe contest getting held in South Korea, the region wherever her moms and dads grew up. At 34 — indeed, double Kim’s age — Clark has as fantastic a probability as any person to end her.
The women’s halfpipe contest offers a stark illustration about what the modifying of the guard seems like in an Olympic activity. Kim, the younger phenom, making an attempt to knock off Clark, her childhood hero and arguably the most meticulous rider in the video game.
It may well be specifically that — Clark’s attention to depth, her adore of the journey as significantly as the objective — that drew her to the younger kid from Southern California who always appeared to ride lengthier, bounce increased and adore it more than any person else on the halfpipe.
“Chloe has 1 of the most effective get the job done ethics I’ve ever noticed,” Clark explained. “She rides lengthier than any person, requires more runs than any person. For me, that’s been a main benefit to my snowboarding. Talent can get you only so significantly. It truly is about putting in that really hard get the job done and excess exertion that would make a change.”
Clark has been putting in the get the job done for many years. This will be her fifth Olympics, which would make her the only snowboarder to complete that feat.
She however views her gold medal in 2002 as more of the culmination of a dream period during which she rarely realized better, even though offering more weight to the bronze medals she won in 2010 and 2014 — each coming off negative accidents that left her doubting whether or not she could make it down the pipe.
Previous yr, she went through hip surgical procedures that left her in mattress, practically motionless, for months. She retained pushing ahead, understanding a opportunity fifth excursion to the Olympics was significantly less than a yr away.
“Sometimes,” Clark explained, “you benefit things based mostly on what they cost you.”
A seem at the other events in snowboarding:
MEN’S HALFPIPE: Two-time Olympic winner Shaun White scored a excellent 100 in his run at Snowmass past 7 days. Message: He is the 1 to defeat. But Japan’s Ayumu Hirano and Australia’s Scotty James will be in the mix, way too. To gain a gold medal, it will most likely take back again-to-back again 1260-diploma jumps, mixed with at least 1 1400-diploma hit. The male who manufactured the frontside double cork 1400 — the Yolo — well known, is the iPod, Iouri Podladtchikov, who has been hurting most of this period and would be the major wild card.
SLOPESTYLE: Canada’s Mark McMorris is back again to entire health soon after breaking his jaw, arm, ribs and more during a backcountry filming accident. He and Max Parrot will contend for gold. Defending winner Sage Kotsenburg devoted himself to filming and the backcountry and will not be back again. Us citizens Pink Gerard and Chris Corning are in the mix. Everyone goes large on these runs, so retain an eye on the intricate get the job done on the rails, which could be the change. And retain an eye on the defending winner, American Jamie Anderson, in the women’s contest.
Big AIR: Youthful, even bigger, increased. That is the Olympic motto when it arrives to the action park. And so arrives the debut of Big Air — a 1-time bounce off a ramp pitched at all around 33 levels and sending the snowboarders flying 70 to 80 toes down the hill. Triple corks will be the name of the video game listed here for the males. Whoever has the coolest grabs and most effective landings will in all probability gain. So significantly, the 17-yr-aged Gerard has been checking all all those bins. At the X Game titles past yr, American Hailey Langland became the 1st female to land a Taxi double cork 1080. Pleasurable point: She had only begun training it that day. Who understands what else is in store?
SNOWBOARDCROSS: The most steady rider in the world stays Lindsey Jacobellis, who at 32 is however seeking a excellent ending soon after so several star-crossed journeys to the Olympics. Australia’s Alex Pullin has two wins and a third put this period. American Alex Diebold worked as a wax tech right before successful his bronze medal four many years back.
PARALLEL Huge SLALOM: The crucial query in this significantly less-snowboardy race down the mountain is how several Russians will be permitted to compete. There are a few in the leading 11 in the women’s standings and four in the leading 10 of the men’s. Incorporated in each lists are Vic Wild and Alena Zavarzina , the husband-and-spouse pair who captured medals, and hearts, at the Sochi Game titles.
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