Chloe Kim solidifies Olympic favorite status with Laax win (video)

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Snowboarder Chloe Kim secured her status as Olympic gold medal favorite by winning the women’s halfpipe competition at the World Cup stop in Laax, Switzerland, on Saturday.

Kim landed two 1080s in her first run at Laax, scoring 90.25 points. (Video of Kim’s winning run is embedded above.) The 21-year-old fell on her second run – a victory lap – but hinted that she had been aiming to try something new.

“I really wanted to do something good for you guys, I’m so bummed I couldn’t,” Kim told the crowd in Switzerland.

Seventeen-year-old Mitsuki Ono of Japan placed second, while two-time world medalist Queralt Castellet of Spain finished third.

The Laax World Cup appears to be Kim’s final competition before she attempts to defend her Olympic title at the upcoming 2022 Beijing Winter Games. She is not on the invite list for next week’s X Games.

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After claiming Olympic gold in 2018, Kim took nearly two months off from snowboarding between 2019 and 2021. While away, she healed up a broken ankle and enrolled at Princeton.

Since making her halfpipe return at the start of 2021, Kim has won all six contests she has entered, a streak that includes wins at the 2021 X Games, 2021 World Championships, and 2021 Dew Tour.

Kim – along with fellow 2018 Olympian Maddie Mastro – have already mathematically qualified for the U.S. Olympic team in women’s snowboard halfpipe. The remaining members of the team will be announced this week.

The NBC Olympics research team contributed to this report. 

Follow Alex Azzi on Twitter @AlexAzziNBC