0158 GMT January 16, 2019
The precocious 17-year-old earned a score of 93.75 in her opening run at the Phoenix Snow Park, The Guardian reported.
That was more than enough to clinch the title, but Kim managed to top it with a near-perfect mark of 98.75 on her third and final attempt with back-to-back 1080s, punctuating her arrival with the daring maneuver she remains the only female rider to have landed in competition.
Liu Jiayu won the silver with an 89.75 to become the first Chinese snowboarder to win an Olympic medal while Arielle Gold of the US took the bronze with a mark of 85.75 on a clutch final run, but they were reduced to bystanders on a day that quickly took the shape of a coronation for the young Korean-American competing in the country where her parents were born and raised before emigrating to the US.
“I don’t really know what’s happening right now,” Kim said at the bottom of the hill in the immediate aftermath.
“This is the best outcome I could ever ask. It’s been such a long journey and just going home with the gold is amazing.”
She added, “It means a lot just being able to do it where my family is from. A lot of pressure, but I’m happy I was able to do it here and do it for the fans and the family. It was a really fun moment for everyone.”
Meanwhile, Austria’s Marcel Hirscher won his first Olympic title on Tuesday in his least favored event, setting up the prospect of a PyeongChang medal rush for the man who has dominated Alpine skiing for the past seven seasons.
Despite six overall World Cup titles and another within close reach, Hirscher had just one Olympic silver medal to his name before arriving in South Korea, Reuters reported.
He said he had been asked every day if his career would be complete without an Olympic gold.
“I‘m super happy because now this stupid question is gone away,” Hirscher told reporters.
He took a major gamble by opting to race in Tuesday’s combined event – an all-round test that features a downhill run as well as his specialist slalom – together with the super-G, slalom and giant slalom, all yet to come.
That meant he had to spend Thursday to Saturday on downhill training at the Jeongseon Alpine Center while rivals like Henrik Christoffersen of Norway were free to concentrate on slalom and GS practice.
“You never can expect something, especially not in ski racing. So many different things have to come together to win a race. We had no expectations for this combined. This already was a high-risk decision,” Hirscher said.
“Last time I put on downhill skis before the training here was exactly one year ago,” added the 28-year-old, who came 12th in the morning downhill but leapfrogged his rivals in the slalom to win by 0.23 seconds from Alexis Pinturault of France.
Hirscher leads the World Cup slalom, giant slalom and overall standings this season and appeared notably relaxed on arriving in Pyeongchang last week, telling reporters a gold medal would be great but not life-changing.
He looks even more dangerous in his favorite events now he has got the monkey off his back.
“I‘m not travelling home tomorrow but if I wished, I could, because I have my big goal, I reached it, especially in Austria where everyone’s expecting that I‘m going to win a gold medal, at least one,” he said.
The Olympics Athletes from Russia won their third medal of the Games with bronze in the curling mixed doubles.
The OAR husband and wife pair of Anastasia Bryzgalova and Aleksandr Krushelnitckii beat Norway's Kristin Skaslien and Magnus Nedregotten 8-4, BBC reported.
The medal is the first in mixed curling with the event making its Winter Olympics debut in PyeongChang.