Chloe Kim for athlete of the year? She padded the argument Saturday, winning her first contest in nine months in trademark dominant fashion, days after treatment at a medical clinic.
Kim, who in PyeongChang became the youngest Olympic female snowboard champion at age 17, had the field’s highest scores in the first two runs (90 and 92.25 points) at Copper Mountain, Colo. She still led after everyone else’s third run, allowing her a victory lap as the last rider to go in her season opener.
Fellow U.S. Olympian Maddie Mastro moved up to second place with her 85-point final run. China’s Cai Xuetong took third at an event that lacked triple Olympic medalist Kelly Clark, who has not announced whether she will compete again.
Kim, who landed a 1080 in each of her runs, said afterward that she visited a medical clinic this week for dehydration.
“I woke up, and I was like blinded because I was so dehydrated. So yeah, drink water,” she joked. “I get super dehydrated up here. I need humidifiers. I’m like filling my bathtub with water and trying to get my room as nice as possible and make it easier to breathe.”
In February 2016, Kim became the first woman to land back-to-back 1080s in a contest. She then landed the first back-to-back 1080s in an Olympics in PyeongChang.
“I was going to go to school this year, but decided to just compete another year, and then go to school next year, then get back into the Olympic flow,” Kim said on NBC Sports.
Last season, Kim became the first halfpipe rider to sweep the Olympics, X Games and U.S. Open in one winter. She hasn’t finished lower than second in a contest since February 2017, when she placed fourth at an Olympic test event in South Korea after spending two days in the ER with “a pretty gnarly cold.”
Kim is capable of more. She landed the first frontside double cork 1080 by a woman in October while training in Switzerland, according to the International Ski Federation.
The double cork 1080 was the must-have trick for the men leading into the Vancouver 2010 Winter Games.
Kim is entered in one more contest before the end of the year, next week’s Dew Tour at Breckenridge, Colo.
Australian Olympic bronze medalist Scotty James won the men’s event Saturday with back-to-back 1260s in his final, 96.75-point run, overtaking American Toby Miller.
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