Chloe Kim is re-writing history for female snowboarders. Still a kid, Kim is busy embracing what’s next – the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
“If my 10-year-old self knew where I was at right now, she’d freak out,” the young Kim told Cosmopolitan. “I mean, if she knew I was [headed to the Olympics], definitely.”
Young stardom is a funny thing. At times, it can be handled gracefully when surrounded by the right people and having a proper upbringing. Other times, it can blow up when placed in the wrong hands. For Kim, she is still soaking it all in even after making history over the last several years.
First and foremost, Kim is concentrated on the fact that this year’s Olympics will be special to her family. She knows the stage is a huge one, but at the forefront of her mind is the idea that, culturally and relationally, she represents much more.
“It’s super cool — I have this link to Korea and, with the Olympics, I have this opportunity to represent the U.S., Korea, and my family” Kim said. “A lot of my mom’s side of the family still lives there — her two sisters, my grandmother, cousins too, so it’s a big moment for [my family].”
Kim made history as the youngest American medalist in the Winter X Games at age 14. She was the first Winter X Games athlete to win two gold medals before she could even legally drive. In terms of a career launch, she’s done pretty well for herself.
But, her goals will continue to go beyond snowboarding. Kim has it in her heart to ultimately attend Harvard.
“I just applied to a handful of schools and had a follow up interview with Harvard, so I’m just hoping for the best, I should hear back in March,” said Kim. “I didn’t get a normal school life and my sisters have told me so many fun stories about college, so I’m just so excited.”
Though she is a professional athlete, Kim is still just a kid. She says the best thing about being in her position is getting to travel and see so many beautiful places.
“That’s the thing I love most about snowboarding, honestly — getting to travel and explore different places and meet people. The plane rides suck but the destinations are sick,” said Kim, spoken like a true teenage athlete.
In an interview with CNN recently, Kim spoke eloquently about the sport she loves.
“The thing about snowboarding is everyone has their own unique style,” Kim said. “You know, two people could do the same trick but make it look completely different, and I think that’s what is so beautiful about snowboarding.“I could even just watch two of my friends ride down without doing any tricks and I’d know exactly who they are because of the way they ride … the way their hand is, or the way they’re bending their knees. I don’t know, It’s just so unique and I think that’s something really cool about it.“It doesn’t look the same; everyone has their own special thing that they do and I think that’s really beautiful.”
What makes Kim unique is that she is relatable. She stays true to her roots, noting how important her family and culture is to her regardless of how famous she gets. Kim continues to work hard on her social life, according to her interview, even though her days are swamped. Best of all, she does not attempt to act like anyone else but who she is. She doesn’t let the moment create someone else inside her and stays true to herself – and she still appeases her father by listening to his advice.
“The other day my dad started freaking out being like ‘You need to wear more protection when you snowboard!’” she said. “I was like ‘Dad I wasn’t even thinking about getting hurt, but now I am!’ But the funny thing is when I’m actually snowboarding, sometimes doing dangerous moves, I don’t think about that.”I get caught up in the moment. I say to myself, ‘Nah this is fine, you got this!'”
Monday, Kim was out on the halfpipe taking her qualifying runs. When one would think she would need to be free from distraction in order to get herself mentally prepared for what she was about to do, one would need to think again.
I'm so nervous!!!!!!! 😂😂
— Chloe Kim (@ChloeKim) February 11, 2018
Oh and I also had 2 churros today and they were pretty bomb so if you ever get nervous go eat a churro
— Chloe Kim (@ChloeKim) February 11, 2018
Yes, you read that right. While Kim was in the middle of some of the most important runs of her life, she had food on the brain. But, not just any food — churros. You heard it straight from the pro herself — if you’re nervous, go eat a churro.
Kim didn’t stop at churros, though, because why would a teenager stop after just two churros? You’ve got to go bigger than that.
Could be down for some ice cream rn
— Chloe Kim (@ChloeKim) February 12, 2018
Yes, it’s cold. Yes, she is on her snowboard in the middle of a qualifying day at the Winter Olympics. That doesn’t matter, though, for the kid who still isn’t shy about being a kid. She wants her ice cream.
Before anyone goes all up in arms about Kim feeding into distractions like her phone and social media, when she should be focused on the task at hand, just know that she scored a 91.5 — just about four points better than anyone else that day — and according to many news outlets and experts, Kim is still by far and away the favorite to win gold on Tuesday.
Monday, after her runs, she caught up with CNN.
“It’s very special,” Kim told CNN. “I feel like I have this unique opportunity to represent both Korea and the US.“Everyone’s really happy and I think this is the best scenario ever. At the end of the day, I’m so grateful that I get to be out here and represent the US in the country that my family came from. It’s a very big blessing.”