Chloe Kim repeats as snowboard halfpipe world champion, leads U.S. 1-2

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Chloe Kim added another major snowboard halfpipe title to her trophy case, repeating as world champion on Saturday.

Kim, who in PyeongChang became the youngest Olympic halfpipe champion at age 17, prevailed with a 93.75-point run that included a 1080 and a 900 in Aspen, Colorado.

“I actually kind of sprained my ankle in practice so it’s been a little challenging,” she said.

Kim, who landed back-to-back 1080s in PyeongChang, had the two highest-scoring runs in the eight-woman final, then had a victory lap for her last run.

Countrywoman Maddie Mastro, the last woman to beat Kim in competition at the March 2019 Burton U.S. Open, took silver with an 89-point third and final run that included her trademark double crippler.

It’s the second time the U.S. went one-two in a world championships halfpipe, after Ross Powers and Lael Gregory did so in the event’s debut in 1996, two years before snowboarding’s Olympic debut.

Spain’s Queralt Castellet, who won the 2020 X Games in Kim’s absence, earned bronze.

The other major Olympic medal contenders — 2018 Olympic silver medalist Liu Jiayu and two-time world champion Cai Xuetong, both of China — have not competed in any International Ski Federation-sanctioned events this season.

Kim won her two biggest contests this winter, also taking her fifth X Games Aspen title in January in the same Buttermilk Mountain halfpipe.

She returned to competition after a 22-month break, having taken the entire 2019-20 season off to attend Princeton freshman classes.

Also Saturday, Japanese Totsuka Yuto, 19, won the men’s halfpipe, confirming his status as 2022 Olympic favorite as Shaun White hasn’t competed in three years. Totsuka had the two highest scores, 96.25 and 93, beating Australian star Scotty James for a fourth consecutive head-to-head.

Totsuka, whose top run included a 1440 and three 1260s, also relegated James to silver at X Games.

White could make his contest return at a U.S. Grand Prix in Aspen next week, the first 2022 U.S. Olympic qualifier.

Chinese Eileen Gu became the first skier to win halfpipe and slopestyle medals at the same world championships — and both were gold. Gu, a 17-year-old born in San Francisco to an American father and Chinese mother, took halfpipe on Friday and slopestyle on Saturday in her worlds debut.

She also swept ski halfpipe and ski slopestyle in her X Games debut in January. She’s now the favorite in both events at the Olympics in her home nation next year. No freestyle skier has earned multiple medals at a single Olympics.

Swiss Andri Ragettli, he of the sensational social media videos and 515,000 Instagram followers, won his first world title in men’s ski slopestyle. Ragettli scored 90.65 points on his last run, pushing Americans Colby Stevenson and Alex Hall to silver and bronze.

It’s the biggest slopestyle title in 22-year-old Ragettli’s career. He also won big air at X Games in January. Ski big air makes its Olympic debut next year.

Worlds continue next week with big air events in skiing and snowboarding.

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