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Chloe Kim

Meet Chloe Kim: The 17-year-old phenom who could be the Shaun White for women's snowboarding



Do you remember what you were doing when you were 17-years-old? If you were like most of us, it probably included activities like picking the college or university you'd be attending in the fall, or maybe getting a head start on finding a date to prom.

However, for Chloe Kim her schedule looks a little different. First, it included recently taking the gold medal at the 2018 Winter X Games SoFi Women's Snowboard SuperPipe Final in Aspen, Colorado. And as if that wasn't impressive enough, she'll now have to locate her passport and shift her focus to PyeonChang, South Korea and the 2018 Winter Olympics.

The California native is used to dealing with pressure at this point. In 2014, as a 13-year-old, Kim took the silver medal in the X Games halfpipe competition.

That kick-started a run in which she won 3 X Games halfpipe gold medals, 2 Burton U.S. Open halfpipe championships, gold medals in halfpipe and slopestyle at the 2016 Winter Youth Olympic Games, and 2 World Snowboard Tour halfpipe season championships.

And if it wasn't for an age limit, Kim most likely would have already made her Olympic debut in 2014 at the Sochi Games.

Chloe Kim
United States Olympic Winter Games Snowboarder Chloe Kim poses for a portrait at the 2017 Team USA Media Summit Monday, Sept. 25, 2017, in Park City, Utah. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

She can also add to her list of accomplishments, being the first women in history to land back-to-back 1080s in competition.

She accomplished this feat again, in January, during her victorious final run that sealed X Games gold; as well as being the second rider ever, male or female, to post a perfect score of 100 during competition.

The only other rider to accomplish that... was legendary halfpipe rider Shaun White, who will look to continue his own Olympic halfpipe dominance in the upcoming Winter Games.

APTOPIX Vancouver Olympics Medals
USA's gold medalist Shaun White reacts during the men's halfpipe medal ceremony at the Vancouver 2010 Olympics in Vancouver, British Columbia, Thursday, Feb. 18, 2010. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

But, PyeonChang presents challenges and pressure that she has never faced before. To start, Kim's parents are both immigrants from South Korea and she still has family in the country.

She believes some of them will likely be in attendance when she takes to the snow, telling Elite Daily, "My family is already planning the whole trip in PyeonChang, and my grandma has never seen me compete. It’ll be quite the emotional journey for my whole family and hopefully everyone’s really proud of me afterwards."

That's not the only reason there will be added pressure for Kim. As was the case with the 2018 X Games, Kim will again be favored to win gold in the women's halfpipe competition in South Korea.

"It's crazy because I've done so much press before the Olympics, leading up to the Olympics and everyone was like 'Oh Chloe can be Olympian'. But, that's just so much pressure because it's like 'Guys, I don't even know if I'm going yet.' But, now that it's here, that it's happening and it's real--It hasn't sunk in yet."
Chloe Kim, U.S. Snowboarder
Chloe Kim

As a blossoming star, Kim is used to being in the spotlight, but mostly in the relatively small confines of the the snowboarding world. The Olympics place her on a world stage that she has not previously performed on. But the youngster insists that for her, this Olympics will be more about taking in all that the event has to offer and less about her performance.

"Realistically this is my first Olympics so I think I just want to go in and experience everything to the fullest and do the best I can. But, obviously I'm not just thinking about winning or 'podium-ing.' I genuinely want to go for the experience," she says.

She'll begin her quest for Olympic greatness when the women's halfpipe qualifiers start on February 12th.

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