Snowboarder Choi Ga-on wins gold in World Cup debut

South Korean snowboarding sensation Choi Ga-on (15-Sehwa Girls Middle School-photo) has won the women’s halfpipe at the International Ski Federation (FIS) Snowboard World Cup.

Choi scored 92.75 points to win the gold medal in the women’s halfpipe final at the 2023-2024 FIS Snowboard World Cup on Sunday in Copper Mountain, Colorado, USA.

It was the 2008-born Choi’s FIS World Cup debut, and she immediately took the top spot on the podium, signaling the arrival of a new powerhouse. It’s been two years since a South Korean athlete won a ski and snowboard World Cup, with Lee Sang-ho (Nexen) taking gold in the alpine men’s parallel giant slalom at the Snowboard World Cup in December 2021.

After taking first place in the qualifier two days earlier with a score of 96.00, Choi upset Mitsuki Ono (JPN), who scored 90.00, in the top eight final.

Choi was in second place in the first run, 4.75 points behind Ono. However, she landed a combo of two 720s and two and a half 900s in the air on her second run to earn a 92.75, and was the only female competitor to land a switch back nine in the air in the opposite direction of her run.

Choi topped the women’s halfpipe at the FIS Junior World Championships in March 2022, and in January of this year, she won the X Games Superpipe at the American extreme sports event at the age of 14 years and three months, breaking the record of 14 years and nine months held by fellow Korean athlete Chloe Kim (USA), and signaled her time was coming by winning her adult World Cup debut.

“I thought I would do it more perfectly in my second run, and it was a good result,” Choi said through her management company, All That Sports.

Meanwhile, Lee Chae-woon (Surigyo), who competed in the men’s halfpipe at the World Cup, earned a silver medal after scoring 80.00 points in the final.

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