In the elite world of competitive sports, age may be a shortcoming in the eyes of sports commentators and critics.
However, after watching her mind-blowing performance for women’s halfpipe in the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, these naysayers were silenced.
Seventeen-year-old California native, Chloe Kim, was finally old enough to be on the winter Olympic team for the U.S, her first time qualifying was in the winter of 2014 but she was too young to be accepted.
According to Kim, “[Her] 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,” Kim said to People Magazine, “[ I feel like I] represent both Korea and America.”
When it comes to snowboarding, “Luckily for me, snowboarding doesn’t really feel like work unless I’m actually doing stuff that’s like work-ish, but when I’m just snowboarding I’m having so much fun,” she said to People Magazine, “I always have fun on the mountain, so it’s always nice to go back out there and do what I love.”
When time came for Kim to perform during the first run of women’s halfpipe, she finished with a score of 93.75. Kim had already set the bar extremely high to win the gold.
With a routine of a backside air, a frontside 1080, cab 720, frontside 900, McTwist and a frontside inverted 720, the rest of the competitors tried and failed to best Kim.
Kim performed so well that by the time the final round came about, she had already safely secured the gold medal for the U.S. After she won the gold, Kim took a victory lap down the mountain where she attempted to land back-to-back 1080s.
“I was like tearing up and wanted to cry, but I just knew I wasn’t going to be happy, even if I went home with the gold, if I knew I could do better,” Kim said to NBC Olympics, of her decision to attempt the ambitious series of flips. “So that third run was really just to prove to myself that I deserved it and did everything I could. I’m so happy.”
Among these other challengers were Arielle Gold for the U.S. and Liu Jiayu for China that could only match Kim’s runs with a silver for China and bronze for the United States. Kim had the final score of 98.25, while Jiayu finished with an 89.75 and Gold’s score was an 85.75.
At the end of their run, Chloe Kim made history being the youngest female snowboarder to win a gold medal for the U.S.