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After ER trip, Chloe Kim wins 5th X Games Aspen snowboard halfpipe title

Chloe Kim

ASPEN, COLORADO - JANUARY 26: Chloe Kim reacts on the podium after finishing first in2 the Women’s Snowboard Superpipe final at the 2019 Winter X Games on January 26, 2019 in Aspen, Colorado. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

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A few days after an ER visit, Chloe Kim returned from a one-year X Games absence to win her fifth snowboard halfpipe title in Aspen, one shy of Kelly Clark‘s female record in the event.

Kim, who in 2018 became the youngest Olympic halfpipe champion at 17, reclaimed her crown at X Games, the biggest annual snowboard contest, after missing last year’s event while taking freshman classes at Princeton.

“I really was not expecting to podium,” Kim, who went 22 months between contests, said on ESPN. “Really just wanted to go into this season with a new mindset, have fun and try new runs.”

In the run that put her in first place, Kim landed a frontside 1080, less than 10 minutes after falling on her first big trick attempt.

“Low key popped some ribs out on the first slam,” was posted on Kim’s Instagram between runs. “They do everything but stay in place.”

She later revealed that she visited an emergency room a few days earlier with “a really crazy allergic reaction” with her throat closed.

Kim is the only woman to ever land back-to-back 1080s, but just like her comeback contest last week, she did not attempt multiple 1080s in a single run.

The X Games format changed since Kim’s last appearance in 2019. Instead of each run being scored, eight riders had four runs each in a 30-minute jam session and were ranked based on overall impression.

Maddie Mastro, who beat Kim at the March 2019 Burton U.S. Open (where Kim broke an ankle), finished second on Saturday.

Kim owns six X Games halfpipe titles, but one came in a sister competition in Oslo. Clark, the 2002 Olympic champion who retired after the 2018 Olympics, owns seven X Games halfpipe titles, but one came in a sister competition in Tignes, France.

Kim said she has two more contests planned in the near future.

Earlier Saturday, 17-year-old Eileen Gu won her second title in as many days, this time in ski slopestyle.

Gu, born in San Francisco to an American father and Chinese mother, became the first athlete from China to win an X Games title on Friday, when she took the ski halfpipe. She also earned bronze in her X Games debut in Friday’s ski big air, which makes its Olympic debut next year in Beijing, where Gu will be one of the host nation’s biggest stars.

“The best two days of my life,” Gu, who beat all three of the 2018 Olympic slopestyle medalists, said on ABC. “I thought I had no words last night, but I have even fewer today.”

Swiss Andri Ragettli, known for his floor-is-lava unorthodox training videos, earned the biggest title of his career by winning men’s ski big air. Alex Hall took bronze, becoming the first U.S. medalist in the event since 2016.

The X Games conclude Sunday, highlighted by Shaun White in snowboard halfpipe.

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