- It's a girl and she's just 18!
Photo Credit: Vogue
When it comes to snowboarding at this year’s Winter Games in Pyeonchang there’s one name that invariably comes to mind - Chloe Kim.
Kim is nothing short of a prodigy. At only 17 years old she has been a part of the US snowboarding team for over three years already. Kim has already taken the world by storm, not only with her bubbly, vivacious personality, but with her record breaking skills.
She first strapped onto a snowboard at only for years old. After only two years she was already skiing competitively in her home state, California. Once people started to get a sense for her athletic potential she was sent to the Swiss Alps to train for several years in Valais, Switzerland. At only 10 years old Chloe was already a world class snowboarder. Joining the US team in 2013 was only the first of several enormous milestone accomplishments for Kim.
She has already taken home the gold in several high-intensity competitions. She has won three consecutive X-Games gold medals for both the halfpipe as well as the slopestyle competitions- both extremely competitive events. She has also won the gold in the Youth Olympic Games for the same events. In fact, she would have competed (and likely taken home a medal or two) at the Sochi games, but was restricted due to her young age. All of this being said, there are definitely plenty of people willing to bet that Kim will soon become a bonafide gold medalist in the upcoming Pyeongchang games.
In the 2018 Winter Olympics there will be 11 total events for snowboarding. The halfpipe and the slopestyle competitions are among the most highly anticipated events. These happen to be the two that Kim is a shoe-in for.
In these events competitors course down a finely manicured slope or through a large halfpipe, attempting to make the most of their run by executing impossible aerial tricks and stunts. Their final score is determined by a panel of judges who assess the snowboarder’s accuracy, execution, and the overall difficulty in their performance. When Chloe competes in the team cross event, her performance will be added to those of her teammates to form an aggregate team score. Even in this event she is expected to lead the pack.
Snowboarding is one of the most beloved events for spectators at the Winter Games every four years. It was first added as an Olympic sport in 1998 but only consisted of the slalom, an event where snowboarders dodge obstacles on their way down the run, and the halfpipe competition, still a fan favorite. In fact, it wasn’t until an International Olympic Committee meeting in 2014 in South Africa that the newest event, parallel slalom, was added to the roster. It’s safe to say that with the hype snowboarding generates, along with the newness of its inclusion at the Olympic level, it may still not be fully evolved at the games. Perhaps Chloe’s first Olympic events will look much different from those she competes in as her Olympic career evolves.
To achieve a double gold in snowboarding is an elite accomplishment. So far only six athletes worldwide have achieved double gold on a snowboard. Shaun White and Seth Wescott, also of Team USA, are 2 of them. It is widely believed that Chloe Kim will be the third American, and first female, to achieve such a status.
At such a young age and with such a promising start, it’s safe to say that the sky’s the limit for Kim!