Olympic snowboarding star Chloe Kim opened up about the tremendous pressure of representing Asian Americans in athletics at a very young age.
The athlete rose to instant stardom after becoming the youngest woman to win an Olympic snowboarding medal at 17 years old at Pyeongchang 2018.
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During the Asian Pacific American Heritage Month (APAHM) event coordinated by Panda Express through its Asian-American Originals campaign, Kim shed some light into how success and growing up in the spotlight has affected her, AsAm News reports.
“Every time I’m stepping outside, I have to make sure I’m putting my best foot forward,” Kim said in an interview with espnW. “That’s hard sometimes. I ask people not to be so harsh. It has even affected my family. My mom’s doing this knitting class and said she has to be careful, she’s worried she might say something weird. We’re working on it as a collective.”
Kim attributed her successes to her beloved family, noting how her parents taught her to work hard since she was a child.
“My dad never quit or let me give up or anything like that,” Kim was quoted as saying. “I just like what I do, it was never hard to motivate myself. I always wanted to do more. If I didn’t like what I did, I’d be miserable in the mountains. I do what I do solely because I love it, and that’s all the motivation you need.”
She noted, however, that national fame that came with her Olympic success also made her the subject of the public eye.
“Sometimes when we go and eat, we have a strategic way of sitting at the table so that no one can see me. I don’t want to sound like a brat who says she hates her fans, I love my fans. Sometimes though I just want to be left alone. I’m so anxious about what I’m saying, what I’m wearing, or what I look like. It can be really hard.”
Kim then revealed that she’s still working on accepting that public attention is now part of her life.
“It’s always going to be like that, I’m always going to be judged. Sometimes I’m like, ‘damn, I wish I didn’t tweet about churros that one time,” she said.
Kim, now aged 19, is the current World, Olympic, Youth Olympic and X Games champion in the halfpipe, and the first to win the title at all three major events.
Feature Image via Instagram / chloekim