US snowboard sensation Chloe Kim made a dominant Winter Games debut in her parents' land as she reached the finals in the women's halfpipe as the top qualifier.
Born to Korean immigrants in the United States, Kim scored 95.50 points in her second qualifying run and claimed the top position among 24 halfpipe competitors at the PyeongChang Winter Olympics at Phoenix Snow Park in PyeongChang, 180 kilometers east of Seoul. She had 91.50 in her first qualifying run. She was the only rider who scored more than 90 points in both runs.
Following Kim was Liu Jiayu of China at 87.75, and Haruna Matsumoto of Japan at 84.25. Korea's Kwon Sun-oo failed to make the cut, finishing 20th.
US freestyle snowboarder Chloe Kim competes in the women`s halfpipe qualifying round at the PyeongChang Winter Olympics at Phoenix Snow Park in PyeongChang, Gangwon Province, on Feb. 12, 2018. (Yonhap)
At the PyeongChang Olympics, 24 snowboarders have to go through two runs to earn one of the 12 spots in the finals, with each competitor's best single run counting.
"I'm always more nervous on qualifiers, so tomorrow, I think I can really focus on what I want to do," Kim said of her qualifying runs. "The pipes have been so good. I'm so thankful that the condition has been amazing."
Kim, the first female snowboarder to land back-to-back 1080s in competition, said she felt really good about her second run.
"I've been really trying to clean up all the little details and I think I just did that, so I'm really excited," she said."
Kim is one of the most anticipated athletes here at the PyeongChang Winter Olympics, due to her extraordinary performances in international competitions, including her two gold medals at the 2015 Youth Olympic Games. The 17-year-old, also a four-time X Games champion, currently tops the International Ski Federation Snowboard half-pipe rankings.
This was Kim's first Winter Olympics as she wasn't able to compete at the Sochi Winter Games four years ago due to her young age, even though she was considered one of the top medal contenders in the halfpipe event.
The final round, consisting of three runs, will start Tuesday. Each contestant's best score from the three runs will count to determine their final standings.(Yonhap)