The present and the future of American snowboarding
Too young to compete at Sochi 2014, Chloé Kim made what was a sparkling Olympic debut at the Winter Youth Olympic Games Lillehammer 2016, where she won halfpipe and slopestyle golds. A regular winner on the Winter X Games and FIS World Cup scenes, Kim is sure to be one to watch at PyeongChang 2018.
Sochi Games come too soon
Born to South Korean parents in Long Beach, California, on 23 April 2000, Kim took up snowboarding at the age of four at Mountain High ski resort, in the south of the “Golden State”. By the time she was six, she was already competing with Team Mountain High, and within another couple of years she was training in the Swiss Alps.
After returning to her native California to hone her skills at Mammoth Mountain, she earned a place on the US snowboard team, an achievement that fired her dreams of appearing at the Olympic Winter Games. Yet, while her results were good enough to have secured her a trip to Sochi 2014, at only 13 she was too young to compete in the Games just yet. Proving what she was capable of, nevertheless, she then went and won superpipe silver at the 2014 X Games in Aspen.
Turning it on in Lillehammer
An English, Korean and French speaker, the multi-talented Kim scored her first major international superpipe victory at the 2015 X Games and retained the title in some style the following year, scoring 95 points to win by a distance from her compatriot Arielle Gold.
Kim then limbered up for Lillehammer 2016 by becoming the first woman to land back-to-back 1080 spins in a snowboarding competition, a feat she achieved at the US Snowboarding Grand Prix at Park City that February.
Continuing her stellar form at the YOG, the 15-year-old American lit up Oslo’s Vinterpark with three stunning runs in the halfpipe, scoring an amazing 96.5 points on her final run to secure her first Olympic gold. Five days later at Hafjell Freepark, she produced a similarly superlative performance in the slopestyle to win a second gold by some margin from the rest of the field.
A dream come true
“I’m just so stoked I was able to put down all those crazy runs that I’ve always dreamed of when I was younger,” said the victorious Kim, who was also the USA’s flag bearer in Lillehammer. “I literally set a goal for myself when I was 10; I was like, ‘I want to be the first girl to do back-to-back (1080s), I want to go to the X Games.’ Even though it was unrealistic when I was younger, it was still a goal for my career and just being able to accomplish my little-girl dreams is crazy. It’s like getting a pony.”
A favourite for more gold
Inspired by her YOG exploits, Kim produced a string of outstanding performances in the 2016/17 FIS Snowboard Freestyle World Cup, racking up huge scores to score halfpipe victories at Copper Mountain (USA) in December and Laax (SUI) a month later, while winning eight major competitions in a row.When she steps out at the magnificent Bokwang Phoenix Park at PyeongChang 2018, with her Korean relatives cheering her on, the irrepressible Kim will finally have the chance to make her childhood Olympic dreams come true.