How Chloe Kim became the next Shaun White of the Olympics: 7 things to know
Here's everything you need to know about the new face of women's snowboarding for the United States
So much for the future. Chloe Kim is the now of United States snowboarding at just 17, four years after not being able to go to the Olympics because she was too young. The snowboarding prodigy from Torrance, Calif., announced her arrival during the 2014 Winter X Games in Aspen, taking the silver medal in the superpipe at just age 13. Now 17, she's ready to rule the world in South Korea, where her father is from and where she still has plenty of relatives.
Kim is the first athlete in X Games history to earn three medals before turning 16, and she's also the first woman to land back-to- back 1080s and receive a perfect score of 100 -- which is what she did at the US Grand Prix in Park City, Utah, in February 2016.
Here are seven more things to know about Kim, the favorite to win gold in the Olympic halfpipe at the PyeongChang Winter Olympics.
She qualified for the last Olympics but didn't go
Chloe Kim isn't new to Olympic qualifying competition, even if she is just 17. She qualified for the 2014 Sochi Winter Games, just to prove that she could. Kim, then only 13, but was too young to compete. But she went on to absolutely clean up at the X Games in the following years. Even those with a passing interest in snowboarding know who Kim is by now, and she's no stranger to the limelight.
She's driven to be great
How good is she? Good enough to be favored to take home the gold medal in this year's Olympics. Kim doesn't fold under pressure, and her back-to-back 1080 run at the 2016 Grand Prix in Park City was the cherry on top of a day that she dominated.
Kelly Clark, a three-time Olympic medalist who won gold at the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics and last won bronze at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, told the Associated Press, via Fox News, that Kim's work habits are unrivaled.
"She rides longer than anyone, takes more runs than anyone. For me, that's been a core value to my snowboarding," Clark said. "Talent can get you only so far. It's about putting in that hard work and extra effort that makes a difference."
She can make history in South Korea
Kim would become the youngest American to ever medal in snowboarding, at just 17 years old, if she picks up a medal in South Korea. Had she been allowed to compete in Sochi, she would have had the chance to challenge Marjorie Gestring, the youngest American to ever medal at just 13 years and 268 days, but restrictions kept her out. Gestring was a diver.
She dominated at the Youth Winter Olympics
Kim competed in the 2016 Youth Winter Olympics in Norway, and took gold in both halfpipe and slopestyle, and picked up the highest snowboarding score in Youth Olympic Games history. She was also the flag bearer for the Opening Ceremony for the United States team. Everything she did in Norway solidified her status as the United States' future for snowboarding.
She was up for an ESPY against Conor McGregor
Shortly after Kim's utter dominance in Norway, she was nominated at the ESPYs for Best Breakthrough Athlete in 2016. The Cubs' Jake Arrieta won the award among a field that included Kim, Conor McGregor, and Karl-Anthony Towns. Pretty good company for a 15-year-old.
Her family is from South Korea
Kim will have no shortage of fans when she competes at the 2018 Winter Olympics. She is a first-generation Korean-American whose father, Jong Jin Kim, moved to the United States in 1982 to pursue an engineering degree. Her father met her mother, Boran, in Switzerland, where Kim lived and trained from the ages of 8 to 10.
It was Kim's father who first put her on a snowboard at 4 at California's Mountain High resort. She started competing by age 6 and was winning contests by the time she turned 7.
Kim's grandmother still lives in South Korea, along with numerous relatives.
"When we started, Korea was not declared as hosting the Olympics," her father told the Associated Press, via Fox News. "I thought I had a chance to bring her to the Olympics, so it was amazing and very lucky that they matched together."
When can I watch her?
The women's halfpipe qualifiers begin on Feb. 10 at 11:30 p.m. ET, continue through Feb. 11 at 11:30 p.m. ET and the final (which Kim is hoping to be a part of) will be on Feb. 12 at 8 p.m. for the women.
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