Chloe Kim Wins Gold

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Stardom hits you fast.

Just ask Chloe Kim, the 17 year old snowboarder who won Gold at the PyeongChang Olympic games. She has gone from being virtually unknown to being on the cover of Sports Illustrated and on top of the female snowboarding world.

She is the youngest woman to ever win an Olympic MEDAL, and she placed first, winning gold in the halfpipe competition.

Let it be no secret, Kim DOMINATED the competition, eventually winning with a score of 98.25 (out of a possible 100), but she never trailed during any of her three runs. She started off the competition with a score of 93.75, a score that was good enough for her not to attempt another run and still win the Gold. She went anyways, not underestimating her challengers, but she fell during her second attempt and wanted to redeem herself. She also wanted to go again for her grandmother, who had traveled from Seoul, South Korea to watch her compete. Her third attempt was nothing short of amazing, geared up with the song Motor Sport by Migos, Cardi B and Nicki Minaj, Kim wowed the audience with a “Method; Front 10; Cab 10; Front 9; McTwist; Crippler 7”. If you’re like me and have no idea what that means, that’s okay, just know it was a crazy run and fun to watch. (See for yourself: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3opTwpiCZ6c)

What might be even more amazing than her run, is Kim’s presence on social media, from her Twitter to her Instagram, she is gaining more fans that may not even know she is an all-time great snowboarder. Her love for churros and ice cream, her pre-competition jitters and being “hangry” are allowing fans to see that she is the typical 17 year-old who just happens to be really good at snowboarding. She didn’t just get there though, her journey to the world’s best snowboarder is astounding. 

She started snowboarding at the age of 4, her father, Jong Jin Kim, started taking her to Mountain High, a ski slope in California. Her father had no idea what he was doing but Chloe was a natural and had a drive to be great. The drive can be contributed to her father, who moved here from Korea in the 1980’s, he worked minimum wages jobs in order to save up for college, and when he finally had enough he went to El Camino college where he studied engineering. On top of school, he would operate on machines in order to make more money for his education.

Kim starting competing at the age of 6, for team Mountain High, primarily because if she was on team it was cheaper for her than to receive actual snowboarding lessons. Her father said it was $100 for lessons, but $450 for the whole season if you were on a team. She thrived early, as after only one season of organized snowboarding she was invited to USASA Nationals at the age of only 7.

As Chloe started to grow older, it was starting to become a real possibility that she would become an all-time great snowboarder. Her father, not wanting to waste her talent, quit his job in order to focus solely on his daughter becoming the best snowboarder possible. This included traveling SIX hours daily to Mammoth Mountain Ski area to practice. It would not go to waste, as she was starting to distance herself from the competition and become better by the day. He decided it would be best for her to go to Valais, Switzerland to train further, meaning she spent her third and fourth grade school years in Geneva, Switzerland. She learned French, and became trilingual (Korean and English) as she kept working towards her snowboarding dreams. Two years later, her parents decided to move back to the states and her home state of California. At the age of 10, she was a very talented snowboarder but still a ways away from being able to compete in the Olympics.

Fast forward to 2014 and Kim is at the Olympic Trials for the United States, and she actually qualified, but due to the age restrictions set by organizers of the Olympic team she was too young to compete at Sochi. Had she competed she likely would’ve medaled given the way she had proven herself to that point, but she was not allowed. With time on her hands until the 2018 Olympics in PyeongChang, Kim decided to compete in the X-Games, an annual extreme sports event hosted by ESPN, best known for their snowboarding and skateboarding events. She captured the Silver medal in SuperPipe and emerged onto the scene of snowboarding. For the next four years she began to dominate the X-Games, winning gold in 2015, 2016 (twice) and 2018. She won bronze in 2017, where she was basically judged poorly because the tricks she were doing were “tame” to what she usually did. The “tame” tricks were still better than most of the competition but she still suffered because of it. To contribute to it, there was technical issues with the lights and generators during the games and she was forced to stand in the cold for 20 minutes before her run, nonetheless she still captured Bronze, an accomplishment that most snowboarders would love to have. Kim had already been established as a snowboarder by then too, she was apart of the US team, and dominated the Youth Olympics in Halfpipe and and Slopestyle, winning Gold in both. With the wins she became the first American woman to win a gold medal at the Youth Olympics and her combined scores of Halfpipe and Slopestyle were also the highest score in Youth Olympic history. After winning, she was nominated for the ESPY for Best Breakthrough Athlete, continuing her rise to stardom as people began to become familiar with her dominance.

Had Chloe Kim not won Gold at the 2018 Olympics, she may have continued to fly under the radar with main stream media, but her win solidifies her place as the next Olympic star, and it’s rightfully so. Kim has earned everything that has happened to her, and it is fitting that the everyone has finally started to notice. Kim is on pace to dominate the snowboarding world for years to come, and nobody’s complaining.

 

 

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2 Comments

2 Responses to “Chloe Kim Wins Gold”

  1. Shakira on February 23rd, 2018 9:28 PM

    I love it! What a great story!

    [Reply]

  2. Shakira on February 23rd, 2018 9:28 PM

    Love this story!

    [Reply]

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