Olympic fans have been hearing about Chloe Kim from before she was even eligible to compete. As a 13-year-old, the American halfpipe phenom was too young to participate in Sochi in 2014, even though her performances were good enough to qualify her for those games. It meant the teenager would make her Winter Olympic debut in South Korea, the country where her parents grew up before emigrating to the U.S. so her father could study engineering. The narrative seemed too well scripted, with expectations that could certainly turn a feel-good story into a sad one if the 17-year-old failed to meet them.
THE HYPE WAS REAL
Kim put those fears to rest immediately in her qualifying runs and, by the time she had advanced into Tuesday’s final, seemed more concerned about what she was going to eat than how she was going to perform. She certainly showed why, crushing a 93.75 score on her first run that stood head and shoulders above the rest of the field, at least until it came time for her third and final run…
In 2016, Kim became the first woman to ever land back-to-back 1080s in competition. With her first-place standing clinched heading into her last run, she opted to go big on her final opportunity and landed them again, scoring a 98.25 to smash her earlier mark. “I knew if I went home with a gold medal knowing I could do better, I wouldn’t be very satisfied,” Kim told reporters. “I wanted to do the back-to-back 10s. I wanted to go bigger. That third run was for me to prove to myself that I did it, so I could go home and be happy with myself.”
STILL A TYPICAL TEENAGER
As grown-up as her performances, and her many media appearances have been, Kim’s social media accounts make it very clear that she’s very much still a playful teenager. And a hungry one at that.
Wish I finished my breakfast sandwich but my stubborn self decided not to and now I'm getting hangry
— Chloe Kim (@chloekimsnow) February 13, 2018
Could be down for some ice cream rn
— Chloe Kim (@chloekimsnow) February 12, 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 (@chloekimsnow) February 11, 2018
SO WHAT’S NEXT?
Kim’s Olympic career is just getting started, but she’ll have to wait until Beijing 2022 for her next shot at Olympic gold. If she can manage the longevity of her teammate, 34-year-old Kelly Clark, there’s a good chance we could still be seeing her in competition at the 2034 Winter Games. In the meantime, she’ll continue to compete in World Cup, World Snowboarding Tour, and other pro events, while also looking to further her education. Her next aims include attending Harvard for business or law and eventually becoming a sports agent. It’s hard to put anything past her at this point.