At 17, Chloe Kim has achieved so much in her beloved sport that she’s being referred to as the “Now of Women’s Snowboarding.”
Born in Long Beach, California, Kim will hit the snow at the Pyeongchang Olympics in South Korea, her parents’ origin, in February. This will be her first Olympics.
Kim has been dominating the women’s halfpipe snowboarding scene for a while.
For one, she’s the youngest athlete in the history of X Games to win three gold medals before turning 16, according to her profile.
She won her first medal, a silver, at the age of 13.
While her cheerful personality suggests that she’s just another SoCal teen, Kim is actually a fierce snowboarder who’s been training hard for years.
She first tried snowboarding at the age of four with her dad, Jong-jin Kim, who soon quit his job so he can drive her to training. Two years later, she was competing as a member of Team Mountain High.
At 14, she was then too young for the Sochi Olympics in 2014, though she was mathematically qualified for the U.S. team, NBC noted.
Kim currently attends an online program at Mammoth Mountain High School. She speaks English, Korean and French.
Despite spending much of her time in icy mountains, Kim identifies as a city girl. At least 143,000 followers on Instagram ogle at her breathtaking moves on the snow and stops at the mall.
“I’m much more of a city girl. I like the mall. I like shopping,” she told Vogue in December.
Kim qualified for the 2018 Winter Olympics in Dec. 15.
While she’s technically representing the U.S., she feels she can also compete for Korea owing to her heritage.
Kim told People:
“My parents are really excited about it, and it’s some crazy luck that my first Olympics are going to be in Korea where my parents are from. And a lot of my relatives over there have never really seen me compete before, so I think it’s going to be pretty cool for everyone. It’s really exciting, my whole family is really excited about it, so that gets me even more stoked!”
She still feels jittery before competing, but finds a way to ease herself.
“I’m shaking, my heart is pounding out of my chest, it’s like I’m freaking out,” Kim said. “But once I’m moving, I feel fine and I feel relaxed.”