14-year-old wins halfpipe champion title


A rising young snowboarder has joined the X Games and made history in her debut. Gaon Choi completed the 1080 move to win the first-ever X Games gold for her home country of South Korea. She became the youngest ever to win the snowboard halfpipe event at 14 years and two months old, breaking Chloe Kim’s previous age record that she held at an age six months older than Choi.
“I began snowboarding because of Chloe. And now almost being near her level when she was 14, it feels weird that I can see a possibility that I would go beyond her someday,” Choi told reporters. “I am already starting to look forward to the next Olympics.”
Choi first met Kim at the 2017 Winter Olympics test event in PyeongChang, South Korea. Kim and her father helped bring Choi to the U.S. to train with the Mammoth Mountain development team, and both have been training with each other since. Kim is the youngest junior to land three 900s in her three out of four runs, breaking the record of two-time U.S. Olympian Maddie Mastro.
During Choi’s run, the judges saw her pull off three 900s, a switch backside 900 Weddle, a frontside 900 and a backside 900 with a missed grab. She is undefeated in the competition across four amateur-level halfpipe events, participating in the 2022 International Ski and Snowboard Federation Revolution Tour.
Her competitor, Maddie Mastro was ranked 12th and 13th in her last two Olympic runs, and she landed her famous “double crippler,” which is equivalent to two backflips. She became the last woman to beat Chloe Kim at the 2019 Open until Choi joined and beat the entire field.
As Choi’s mentor, Kim expressed her excitement and encouragement following Choi’s historical performance.
“I feel like a proud Mom,” Chloe Kim said via Instagram after Choi’s gold medal win. “The future of snowboarding is in good hands.”