After ER trip, Chloe Kim wins 5th X Games Aspen snowboard halfpipe title

Chloe Kim
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A few days after an ER visit, Chloe Kim returned from a one-year X Games absence to win her fifth snowboard halfpipe title in Aspen, one shy of Kelly Clark‘s female record in the event.

Kim, who in 2018 became the youngest Olympic halfpipe champion at 17, reclaimed her crown at X Games, the biggest annual snowboard contest, after missing last year’s event while taking freshman classes at Princeton.

“I really was not expecting to podium,” Kim, who went 22 months between contests, said on ESPN. “Really just wanted to go into this season with a new mindset, have fun and try new runs.”

In the run that put her in first place, Kim landed a frontside 1080, less than 10 minutes after falling on her first big trick attempt.

“Low key popped some ribs out on the first slam,” was posted on Kim’s Instagram between runs. “They do everything but stay in place.”

She later revealed that she visited an emergency room a few days earlier with “a really crazy allergic reaction” with her throat closed.

Kim is the only woman to ever land back-to-back 1080s, but just like her comeback contest last week, she did not attempt multiple 1080s in a single run.

The X Games format changed since Kim’s last appearance in 2019. Instead of each run being scored, eight riders had four runs each in a 30-minute jam session and were ranked based on overall impression.

Maddie Mastro, who beat Kim at the March 2019 Burton U.S. Open (where Kim broke an ankle), finished second on Saturday.

Kim owns six X Games halfpipe titles, but one came in a sister competition in Oslo. Clark, the 2002 Olympic champion who retired after the 2018 Olympics, owns seven X Games halfpipe titles, but one came in a sister competition in Tignes, France.

Kim said she has two more contests planned in the near future.

Earlier Saturday, 17-year-old Eileen Gu won her second title in as many days, this time in ski slopestyle.

Gu, born in San Francisco to an American father and Chinese mother, became the first athlete from China to win an X Games title on Friday, when she took the ski halfpipe. She also earned bronze in her X Games debut in Friday’s ski big air, which makes its Olympic debut next year in Beijing, where Gu will be one of the host nation’s biggest stars.

“The best two days of my life,” Gu, who beat all three of the 2018 Olympic slopestyle medalists, said on ABC. “I thought I had no words last night, but I have even fewer today.”

Swiss Andri Ragettli, known for his floor-is-lava unorthodox training videos, earned the biggest title of his career by winning men’s ski big air. Alex Hall took bronze, becoming the first U.S. medalist in the event since 2016.

The X Games conclude Sunday, highlighted by Shaun White in snowboard halfpipe.

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Summer McIntosh, Canadian teen swimmer, caps record year with another historic time

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Summer McIntosh swam the fourth-fastest 400m individual medley in history on Friday, capping a year that already included world titles, Commonwealth Games titles and a victory over Katie Ledecky.

McIntosh, a 16-year-old Canadian whose mom swam at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, won the 400m IM in 4 minutes, 28.61 seconds at the U.S. Open in Greensboro, N.C. She prevailed by a Ledecky-like 13.24 seconds, breaking her own national record that was previously the fourth-fastest time in history.

“It’s still pretty early in the season, so I didn’t really know what to expect going into it,” she said on Peacock.

The only two women who ever went faster in the event known as the decathlon of swimming are Olympic gold medalists: Hungary’s Katinka Hosszu (world record 4:26.36 and 4:28.58) and China’s Ye Shiwen (4:28.43).

McIntosh has come a long way in a short time. Three years ago, she put all her eggs in the 1500m freestyle basket, thinking it was her best shot to merely qualify for the Tokyo Games in 2020. The one-year Olympic postponement was a blessing.

The rapidly improving McIntosh swam three individual events in Tokyo with a top finish of fourth in the 400m free, just missing becoming the youngest swimming medalist since 1996. She then told her coach she wanted to become an IMer.

At this past June’s world championships, McIntosh won two of the most grueling events — 400m IM and 200m butterfly — to become the youngest individual world champion since 2011. She also took silver to Ledecky in the 400m free, an event in which she later beat Ledecky in a short-course meet (25-meter pool rather than the 50-meter pool used for the Olympics).

A month after worlds, McIntosh swept the IMs at the Commonwealth Games, where she broke more world junior records and again took second in the 400m free (this time to Olympic champ and world record holder Ariarne Titmus of Australia).

McIntosh, who turned professional last year, now trains full-time in Sarasota, Florida, where she rents a house with her mom, Jill Horstead, who was ninth in the 200m fly at the 1984 Olympics (McIntosh, whose passions include the Kardashians and plants from Target, has seen video of her mom winning the B final at those Games). They’re a three-hour drive down Interstate 75 from Ledecky’s base in Gainesville.

Also Friday, Erin Gemmell celebrated her 18th birthday by nearly becoming the first American to beat Ledecky in a 200m freestyle in nearly nine years. Ledecky won by 42 hundredths of a second in 1:56.74 and said she had an off-day while also praising Gemmell, the daughter of her former coach.

NBC airs U.S. Open highlights on Dec. 10 at 4:30 p.m. ET.

U.S. OPEN SWIMMING: Full Results

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Kaillie Humphries begins trek to 2026 Winter Olympics with monobob World Cup win

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Kaillie Humphries is off to a strong start to a four-year cycle that she hopes ends with her breaking the record as the oldest female Olympic bobsledder.

Humphries, the women’s record holder with three Olympic bobsled titles, earned her first World Cup victory since February’s Winter Games, taking a monobob in Park City, Utah, on Friday.

Humphries, the first Olympic monobob champion, prevailed by .31 of a second over German Lisa Buckwitz combining times from two runs at the 2002 Olympic track.

Humphries has said since February’s Olympics that she planned to take time off in this four-year cycle to start a family, then return in time for the 2026 Milano-Cortina Winter Games. Humphries, who can become the first female Olympic bobsledder in her 40s, shared her experiences with IVF in the offseason on her social media.

“We’ve pushed pause so that I could go and compete this season, maintain my world ranking to be able to still work towards my 2026 goals, and we’ll go back in March to do the implantation of the embryos that we did retrieve,” she said, according to TeamUSA.org.

The next Games come 20 years after her first Olympic experience in Italy, which was a sad one. Humphries, then a bobsled push athlete, was part of the Canadian delegation at the 2006 Torino Games, marched at the Opening Ceremony and had her parents flown in to cheer her on.

But four days before the competition, Humphries learned she was not chosen for either of the two Canadian push athlete spots. She vowed on the flight home to put her future Olympic destiny in her own hands by becoming a driver.

She has since become the greatest female driver in history — Olympic golds in 2010, 2014 and 2022, plus five world championships.

Her longtime rival, five-time Olympic medalist Elana Meyers Taylor, plans to return to competition from her second childbirth later in this Olympic cycle and can also break the record of oldest female Olympic bobsledder.

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