Getty Images

Chloe Kim, after trip to ER, rides into U.S. Open

Leave a comment

The busiest stretch of Chloe Kim‘s life was interrupted by a trip to the emergency room in South Korea last month.

The 16-year-old U.S. snowboarding phenom had “a pretty gnarly cold” and fever right before practice started at a World Cup event at the 2018 Olympic venue in South Korea.

Kim, whose parents are from South Korea and is fluent in Korean, said she couldn’t understand any further diagnosis from a doctor. But she spent two days in the ER.

Kim was discharged and decided to compete at the contest, finishing fourth with an 82.50-point run. Kelly Clark, the three-time Olympic medalist nearly twice Kim’s age, won with 94 points.

Kim is now in Vail, Colo., for this week’s Burton U.S. Open and seems past any health problems.

“I’m hyped,” Kim, typically of few words in interviews, said Wednesday. On Thursday, she topped qualifying with a 79.62-point run heading into Saturday’s final (1 p.m. ET, BurtonUSOpen.com).

The U.S. Open is about as crucial of a contest for Kim outside of an Olympics or Olympic qualifying.

After winning seven straight halfpipe contests from January 2016 to January 2017, Kim has lost her last three outings. (One was the U.S. Grand Prix at Mammoth Mountain, Calif., last month, when Kim qualified second and had to skip the final because it was delayed by a day and she had to fly to South Korea.)

The last month and a half — from losing at Winter X Games in Aspen, Colo., for the first time since she was 13 to Mammoth to South Korea and back to Vail — took a toll on the Olympic halfpipe favorite.

“Traveling can get pretty overwhelming,” said Kim, whose commitments include those for sponsors like Target, Toyota and the South Korean cosmetics brand Laneige. “I haven’t really been this busy before. Now I kind of know what it’s like.”

Kim refuses to dwell on the end of her winning streak. Or on any emphasis put on results, really.

“Honestly, I don’t really care that much about winning,” Kim said, echoing the cry of many riders to come before her. “I’m all about putting down a run I’m happy about. As long as I do that, I’m pretty happy with the way the day goes by.”

The U.S. Open holds special significance to Kim. She debuted in 2013 at age 12, finishing 12th, then placed third in 2014, second in 2015 and won in 2016.

“It’s always special when there’s a contest you’ve been going to for your whole life, almost,” she said.

Kim said she may compete once more this season, possibly at the world championships in Spain next week.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Shaun White impressed by Chloe Kim

Justin Schoenefeld gets U.S.’ first men’s aerials World Cup win in 4 years

Justin Schoenefeld
U.S. Ski & Snowboard
Leave a comment

Justin Schoenefeld ended a four-year U.S. men’s aerials drought with his first World Cup win Saturday in Belarus.

Schoenfeld, 21, hit a double full-full-full in the super final to beat a field that included world champion Maxim Burov of Russia. Burov was fourth, one spot behind another American, Chris Lillis. Full results are here.

“I’m pretty speechless right now,” Schoenefeld said, according to U.S. Ski & Snowboard. “I’m just shocked. It just all came so quick, all of a sudden the two finals were over, and I was on top of the podium. I probably landed two of my training jumps yesterday, but I managed to land all of my comp jumps down to my feet.”

Schoenefeld’s best previous World Cup finish was fourth, in Belarus last season.

Lillis earned the U.S.’ last World Cup men’s aerials victory on Feb. 20, 2016, also in Belarus. The four-year gap between wins marked the longest for the U.S. men since aerials was added as an Olympic medal sport in 1994.

Schoenefeld also became the first American of either gender to win a World Cup aerials event in two years, since Kiley McKinnon on Jan. 6, 2018. That gap was the longest for the U.S. since 2005.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Olympic aerials champion retires to coach

Kaillie Humphries wins bobsled world title in first season for U.S.

Leave a comment

Two-time Olympic champion Kaillie Humphries won a bobsled world title in her first season since switching allegiance from Canada to the U.S., ending recent German dominance.

Humphries, with brakewoman Lauren Gibbs, edged German junior world champ Kim Kalicki by .37 of a second combining times from four runs between Friday and Saturday in Altenberg, Germany.

“I love this track. It’s very challenging, one of the hardest in the world,” Humphries said, according to U.S. Bobsled and Skeleton. “It demands a lot of focus, a lot of respect every minute you’re on that track. So to be able to win here, I know the Germans and the spectators, everybody, have worked so hard and this week, no exceptions. I’m proud of all of the girls.”

Canadian Christine de Bruin took bronze for a second straight year. Full results are here.

Humphries, who married a former U.S. bobsledder, was released by Canada in September after filing verbal abuse and harassment claims against a coach, saying she no longer felt safe with the program. As a Canadian, Humphries won 2010 and 2014 Olympic titles, plus 2012 and 2013 World titles.

Humphries joined German Sandra Kiriasis as the only female drivers to win three world titles. She is already the only female driver with multiple Olympic titles.

German Mariama Jamanka, the reigning Olympic champion and defending world champion, finished fourth in Altenberg.

Triple U.S. Olympic medalist Elana Meyers Taylor didn’t compete as she sits out the season due to pregnancy. Meyers Taylor and Gibbs teamed for silver in PyeongChang.

The world championships continue Sunday with the conclusion of the two-man competition. German Francesco Friedrich, eyeing his sixth straight world title, leads after the first two of four runs.

A full TV and live stream schedule is here.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

VIDEO: Steven Holcomb’s mother’s speech after accepting Olympic medals