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February 19, 2018
THE ASIAN REPORTER n Page 7
Victory lap: Chloe Kim takes her family on a gold-medal ride
BACK-TO-BACK 1080s. Chloe Kim of the
United States performs during the women’s halfpipe
finals at Phoenix Snow Park at the 2018 Winter Olym-
pics in PyeongChang, South Korea. On the last run of
the sun-splashed final, Kim hit back-to-back 1080º
tricks on her second and third jumps — repeating a
combination no other woman has ever done in com-
petition. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)
By Eddie Pells
AP National Writer
YEONGCHANG, South Korea —
Chloe Kim stamped her name on a
new era of snowboarding with a
run down the halfpipe that, officially, did
not mean anything. To her, it meant
The Olympic gold medal was already
hers, but she knew she could do better. So
she cinched on her gloves, cranked up
“Motorsport” on her iPod, said “This one’s
for you, Grams” — a shoutout to her South
Korean grandmother, who was watching
her in person for the first time — and
dropped into the halfpipe to make history.
On the last run of the sun-splashed final,
Kim hit back-to-back 1080º spins on her
second and third jumps — repeating a
combination no other woman has ever
done in a competition.
She landed them squarely, sent her
already super-hyped family at the bottom
into overdrive, scored a 98.5, and sent out
the message that everyone from grandma
to those at the roots of this sport love to
hear: “I knew I wasn’t going to be
completely satisfied taking home the
gold, but knowing that I could’ve done
The 17-year-old from California made it
look easy, but only afterward did she
concede how difficult the past several
months have been. Her story has been told
and sold and marketed for gold: Her
parents both emigrated to the United
States from South Korea, and though it
was more coincidence than any grand
plan, Kim making her Olympic debut in
the country where her family was from set
up a sure path to stardom in the halfpipe
She has commanded the progression in
women’s snowboarding for at least two
years now, and it was hard to imagine
anyone beating her on the sport’s biggest
stage, at her official coming-out party. But
halfpipes are hard, the snow is slippery,
and nothing is for sure.
“There is a lot of pressure revolving
around these games,” she said. “You wait
for four years to come here and it’s
definitely a lot of hype around a
one-and-a-half, two-hour time period. It’s
pretty nerve-wracking. You know you’re at
the Olympics. It’s been a dream of mine
since I was a little girl, to land a run that’s
very important for me.”
She didn’t have to do it.
In the first of the day’s three runs, she
flew higher than anyone on her opening
straight air, then landed one 1080, and
closed with a pair of inverted spins, each
with well-timed, easy-to-see grabs of the
board that the judges appreciate. Her
score there was a 93.75, which put her
nearly nine points clear of the other 11
riders, none of whom would crack 90.
The rest of the day was a contest for
second, and China’s Liu Jiayu won it. She
said injuries made her reboot and
reconnect with her love of the sport,
regardless of the result. It will be
interesting to see how the 25-year-old’s
attitude shifts four years hence, at the
Winter Olympics in Beijing.
Third place went to another young
American: 21-year-old Arielle Gold, who
casually announced afterward that she
had separated her shoulder here on the
second day of training, much the way she
did on a practice run in Sochi four years
ago that forced her to scratch from the
“The doctors (say) that the more that it
happens, the less impactful it is,” Gold
That bronze-medal run pushed Kelly
Clark — who has won one gold and two
Olympic bronzes in the past — into fourth.
This was Clark’s fifth Olympics, and the
34-year-old left the halfpipe with her own
future to consider, but knowing the future
of the sport she helped bring to the masses
is in very good hands.
“Chloe’s an outstanding snowboarder,
but I’m more proud of her for how she’s
handled herself as a person,” Clark said.
“She’s handled success and pressure with
grace and class, and it’s refreshing.”
Kim’s journey included two years in
Switzerland, where she lived with her
aunt, learned French, and honed her
Her father, Jong Jin, gave up his job to
chase his daughter’s dream.
Down in the fans section, where Jong Jin
was joined by his wife, Boran, along with
Chloe’s two sisters, three aunts, two
cousins, and her 75-year-old grandma, dad
pointed to himself and said “American
Dream,” then let out a big whoop.
“I did, like, a 12-year sacrifice, and
finally I got my reward,” he said. “Thank
you very much (to) my daughter.”
She put on quite a show, and she will be
rewarded in ways large and small. Heck,
her Instagram following nearly doubled, to
350,000, since she arrived in South Korea
— and that was before she won the gold.
But deep down, she knows where the
real thanks belonged. Her way of giving it
was the classic run she put down at the
“To just quit work and travel with your
kid full-time, leaving your wife behind and
really chasing this dream because your kid
is really passionate about this sport, I’m
always so thankful for that,” she said.
“And today, I really did it for my family and
everything they’ve done for me.”
AP Sports writer Jake Seiner
contributed to this report.
Shh, mom! No yelling when sister watches fellow Olympian
By Teresa M. Walker
Scott Takushi/Pioneer Press via AP, File
The Associated Press
AP Photo/John Autey, File
ANGNEUNG, South Korea — Supporting one
daughter playing women’s hockey in the
Olympics isn’t exactly easy. Especially when the
other daughter, a fellow Olympian, wants no yelling.
So Greg and Robin Brandt sat as quietly as possible
watching Marissa play for Korea with Hannah, a forward
for the United States, sitting beside them.
Hannah’s schedule was a bit tight, so she could only
watch the first period before leaving. That freed her
parents to join the boisterous crowd at the Kwandong
Hockey Centre cheering for the first combined Korean
team ever to play in an Olympics.
“She says, ‘You don’t yell at my games like that do you?”
Robin Brandt said of Hannah. “I’m like, ‘No. I’m worse.’ I
don’t know. It’s more exciting here. I really don’t yell at the
U.S. games because it’s not as appropriate. But here ...
everyone’s yelling. You have to yell.”
The sisters Brandt have given their family more than
enough reason to cheer, sing, or simply beam with pride.
Marissa, who was born in South Korea, is one of six
North Americans imported for the country’s first women’s
hockey team in the Olympics. With the surprise addition
of 12 North Koreans about three weeks ago, the team has
drawn intense scrutiny and dignitaries attended their
opening game (and North Korea’s famous cheerleader
group has been at all three). Hannah, meanwhile, is
trying to help the United States end a 20-year drought
without a gold medal in women’s hockey.
Together, the sisters have brought the Brandts and
Marissa’s husband, Brett Ylonen, all the way from
Minnesota to the coastal town in South Korea for an
Olympic experience with double the teams — and games.
They sit in the stands wearing Korea blue jerseys and
switch things up when the Americans play. They’ve
stayed busy with a daughter playing every other day.
“This is for women and girls and anyone dreaming this
is where you want to be,” Greg Brandt said. “And to have
both Marissa and Hannah to be able to do this, it’s an
absolute dream come true for us.”
Robin added: “And for them.”
“And for our family, it’s incredible,” Greg Brandt said.
Marissa thought hockey was over after finishing up
Division III hockey at Gustavus Adolphus in St. Peter,
Minnesota. Then came a call to help a country she hadn’t
seen since being adopted as a baby build a hockey team for
the Olympics. Married to Ylonen, who works in medical
sales in Minnesota, she started to add trips to South Korea
amid lots of texting and FaceTime calls to stay in touch.
“For me personally, it goes bigger than hockey,”
Help us find a cure.
SISTERS ON ICE. Marissa Brandt (#23, left photo) defends Team
South Korea’s goal in an exhibition hockey game in Minneapolis in this
file photo. Marissa, a native Korean who was adopted as an infant by par-
ents in Minnesota, and her sister Hannah (#20, right photo), are both
competing in the Winter Olympics in women’s hockey — Marissa for
South Korea and Hannah for the United States.
Marissa Brandt said. “I hope to be a role model for young
girls and expand the sport here in Korea. Hockey isn’t very
popular here, so I hope to just show girls that it’s fun to
play and something they should do if they want to. So it
goes bigger than hockey for me.”
Hannah starred at the University of Minnesota and just
missed the U.S. roster in 2014 at Sochi. She scored her
first Olympic goal in a 5-0 win over the Olympic athletes
from Russia and just missed a second goal waved off as a
Continued on page 9
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