Chloe Kim qualified for two straight Winter Olympics, but her age prevented her from participating in the 2014 games. Kim qualified for the U.S. Olympic halfpipe team for Sochi in 2014, but at 13 she did not reach the minimum age requirement to participate in the snowboarding competition. According to FanSided, the Olympic age requirement varies by sport, with skeleton having the lowest threshold at 14.
At 17, Kim now meets the snowboarding age minimum of 15 years old, and Pyeongchang is a fitting Olympic debut for Kim given her Korean roots. She will be able to finally buy a lottery ticket when she turns 18 on April 23. Kim is Korean-American which has led to a greater spotlight in South Korea with media interest in both countries. Kim admits that it would have been a daunting task for her to tackle four years ago.
“Looking back on it, I’m really glad I couldn’t go,” Kim noted to Time. “I don’t know how my 13-year-old self would have dealt with it.”
Kim is listed at 5’3″ and 115 pounds making how high she gets above the halfpipe an impressive feat. According to her Olympic bio, Kim attends La Palma Christian School in California, and is slated to graduate later this year. Time reported Kim takes online classes, and is even considering going to her prom when the Olympics are over.
“I get a little jealous of girls going to prom and homecoming sometimes,” Kim told Time. “That looks really fun. Maybe I will go to prom.”
Kim may be 17, but she has a long list of accomplishments. According to Team USA, she became the first athlete to win three X-Games gold medals before reaching the age of 16. Kim has a total of five X-Games medals with a silver and a bronze to go with the three golds. She finished first in the 2017 FIS World Cup halfpipe standings, and sixth in the overall leader board. Kim is a two-time Burton U.S. Open halfpipe champion, winning back-to-back titles the last two years.
American Red Gerard already made history on the men’s side by being the youngest snowboarding Olympic champion ever. With a June birthday, Gerard is slightly younger than Kim, but Kim would be the youngest women’s snowboarder to ever win a medal if she delivers in 2018. According to NBC, Kelly Clark set the current record at 18 when she won the gold medal in the 2002 games. Having conquered the snowboarding scene at a young age, Clark recognized Kim’s talent when she saw her on the slopes.
“Chloe is one of the most talented young snowboarders I’d ever seen,” Clark told The Washington Post. “I remember talking to Burton [a snowboard manufacturer] about her when I first saw her in Mammoth. I said, ‘Hey, I’ve never suggested that you pick up any athlete — except for this girl. This girl is someone you should sponsor and you should get behind. She has the potential to go very far.’ ”
Kim already showed her youthful enthusiasm by tweeting that she was craving ice cream during her first Olympic competition.
This prompted NBC to run a poll on the ice cream flavor Kim should eat, and Cookies and Cream won the poll to the delight of Kim.
If Kim wins an Olympic medal, she can expect a lot of free ice cream both in South Korea and the United States.