Gold 4th as Chloe Kim wins the day at X Games

Joel Reichenberger
Arielle Gold flies above the half-pipe at X Games in Aspen on Saturday. Gold placed fourth in the event for the second consecutive year.
Joel Reichenberger

— Chloe Kim took a major jolt before Saturday night’s women’s snowboarding super-pipe competition at the Winter X Games in Aspen. The 14-year-old Californian snowboarding phenom glanced off the deck and slid to her face in her last training run before the finals competition.

The result was several red marks on her face and plenty of pain.

During the competition, she instead delivered the jolt, giving the women’s snowboarding world the biggest shakeup it’s received in a long time.

That meant a gold X Games medal and the designation as the youngest X Games winner.

Kim won Saturday night’s competition in front of a raucous crowd, using her final run to dethrone five-time reigning champ Kelly Clark.

Steamboat Springs’ Arielle Gold, meanwhile, languished in fourth place.

“I’ve got mixed emotions,” Gold said. “There’s definitely a little bit of frustration.”

Gold couldn’t quite lay down the perfect run that might have vaulted her onto the podium or even into the war between Kim and Clark.

She was happiest with her second run, which scored in at 75.66, and then improved but still behind eventual bronze medal winner Torah Bright.

“When you come out and land a run you’re really happy with, you would hope it would get you where you want to be and fourth place is not my favorite place,” Gold said, considering her second run and its score. “I’m happy with the way I was riding and I did the best I could. After that, everything else is in the judges’ hands.”

She toyed earlier in the week with the idea of including a 1080 in her run, a first for Gold, but she said, at least from the vantage point atop the pipe, the opportunity didn’t present itself.

“I was thinking I would try on my third run, but when my second run wasn’t as clean as I’d hoped, I decided to try to make it a little bit cleaner in the third run,” Gold said. “In hindsight, I wouldn’t have minded giving it a try.”

Clark’s best run was her first, which scored at 90.00. She couldn’t improve on that, falling on her final run.

Kim did two fewer hits in her run, five compared to Clark’s seven, but was judged very strongly on her final run and scored at 92.00, sliding her into first place.

“It was definitely close between those two,” Gold said. “It’s always a tough call because the run Chloe has going is really technical but Kelly always has that giant, really sick run. Tonight it was up to the judges.”

Now it’s off to the European Open for Gold, starting with an early morning flight Sunday.

“It will be good to get back into it and use this fire for riding better,” she said.

To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 970-871-4253, email or follow him on Twitter @JReich9

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