As Kim prepares to compete in the Olympics again, curtain call

Nickname is disabled. The redhead mop that was Shaun White’s signature look more than a decade ago is long gone.

The 35-year-old snowboard icon has held the torch for so long since his first gold medal on the halfpipe in Turin 16 years ago, a torch that has been watched by a series of The grown up newcomer picks up.

The group – led by two-time Japanese silver medalist Ayumi Hirano – will stand at the top of the pipe at Genting Snow Park, seeking to do what has only been done once at the past four Olympics: stand up on the podium with White and others Watch the movement.

For the first time in his career, White entered the Olympics not as the favorite but as the lion of winter, trying to summon the kind of magic that has been hard to come by since his three-year hiatus.

It wasn’t until the final days of qualifying that White secured a spot on the U.S. team, ever since Hirano and Australia’s Scotty James collapsed in his mother’s arms in the pressure-filled final in Pyeongchang. After that, Cathy, who never stood on the medal stage after the award ceremony, was exhausted physically and mentally.

He’s back for what will almost certainly be the last game, where he’ll be watching the changing of the guard up close. The Japanese, led by Hirano and world champion Yuto Totsuka, dominated the halfpipe with the kind of boundary-breaking skills that were once White Field.

Hirano became the first snowboarder to use a “triple cork” (three overhead flips) in a race in December, the next match for White after four consecutive years of drilling a double cork 1440 (four bends) to win gold. Logical progression steps. It was a step for Hirano, thanks in large part to the push from Totsuka and younger brother Kaixiu.

“(Japanese) have a great team culture,” said Mike Jankowski, head coach of the U.S. Olympic snowboard and freestyle events. “You see them all day. They’re having a good time. They’re laughing. I mean, obviously, they’re fierce competitors and they’re there to win. But they’re also what I see with the Their camaraderie, it’s funny.”

The sport’s increasingly high risk-reward nature adds to the uncertainty that the sport’s larger events lack.

At least on the male side. The situation in the women’s halfpipe is a bit clearer, with American Chloe Kim set to win gold as a freshman four years ago in South Korea.

While Jin understands the pressure she will face in China as the only person to win an Olympic gold at home, she has barely stepped out of her comfort zone. She came to Korea as the sport’s next big thing and left it as a champion while navigating the white-hot spotlight due to her precocious puberty and her Korean ancestry.

Doing it again doesn’t seem like a big deal by comparison. If anything, she’s here to take the bet. It showed in a pre-Olympics match in December, when she led Spain’s Queralt Castellet in the last of three matches.

“It was weird because the third round was the calmest I felt,” King said. “It’s really an all-or-nothing feeling. I think in those moments, you get a sense of calm, like bankruptcy, you know?”

Or in the case of gold, seek gold.

Looking for other things to do during a very busy three weeks in Zhangjiakou.

Lindsay’s long run: When the five-time world champion bids again for Olympic gold, American snowboarder cross-country star Lindsay Jacobellis will make the final blow to fill the only hole in her resume.

Jacobellis, who won silver in Turin in 2006 when she grabbed the board while celebrating her final jump and fell, didn’t win a medal in Vancouver, Sochi or Pyeongchang. The 36-year-old, who settled her recent defeat in Italy long ago, has a little momentum after finishing third at the World Cup in Russia.

Jamie’s Journey: Three-time Olympic medalist Jamie Anderson will compete for a third gold on the women’s ramp to join her wins in Russia and South Korea.

Anderson, 31, who piloted a twin-cork 1080 for the first time in a cab at the Mammoth Mountain race in January, doesn’t think she’s reached the top yet.

“I feel like I haven’t really reached my full potential,” she said.

Red Alert: A 17-year-old with big eyes, Red Gerard didn’t expect to win the Korean slope-style gold in his first Olympics. It happened anyway.

Four years later, Gerard will travel to China as one of the most popular, along with Canadians Seb Toussaint and Mark McMorris. Gerrard, 21, wants his sport to move away from the flips and twists that define it, towards something more creative.

Second help? : Ester Ledecka achieved her biggest astonishment at the 2018 Olympics, when the snowboarder from the Czech Republic beat Super G Alpine events including American star Lindsay Vaughn in many venues within.

A few days later, Ledeka celebrated with KFC fried chicken before going out to complete a parallel giant slalom on her skis, becoming the third person to win gold medals in a different sport at the same Winter Olympics.

She’s a favorite for a recap in PGS, and this time she won’t pop up in super-G like she did in Korea. The 26-year-old is 10th in the World Cup standings in 2020 and 2021.

Copyright © 2022 The Washington Times, LLC.

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