Chloe Kim: US teenager makes history at Winter Olympics

Hers is a life changed.From 17-year-old standout to Olympic champion.Standing at 5ft 3in, it is not alw...

Posted: Feb 13, 2018 2:44 PM
Updated: Feb 13, 2018 2:44 PM

Hers is a life changed.

From 17-year-old standout to Olympic champion.

Kim wins women's halfpipe gold

At 17 years, 296 days, she is youngest Olympic gold medalist on snow

Standing at 5ft 3in, it is not always easy to spot Chloe Kim in a crowd, but on a cloudless Tuesday in South Korea it was obvious where America's new golden girl was.

Kim had already done enough to win the women's halfpipe gold before she started her final attempt, only to knock it out of the park with a near-perfect score of 98.25.

At the bottom, she was engulfed in a crowd of reporters and photographers, all competing for her attention over the relentless clicking of camera shutters, with yells of "Chloe! Chloe! Chloe!," the shuffling throng following her every move like ducklings.

READ: Chloe Kim -- America's 17-year-old snowboarding sensation

Journalists from all around the world wanted to speak to the new Olympic champion. She ran the gauntlet of TV interviews and negotiated the maze of reporters with equanimity.

Fans wanted a piece of the action too, craning necks, standing on tip-toe, sticking their smartphones in the air. Any sort of picture would do.

Such was the madness, minutes before Kim -- the youngest female Olympic gold medalist on snow -- stood tearfully atop the podium, her mother Boran was pleading to be let through a security check point.

It was a circus. That is what happens when a teenage sensation fulfills her destiny.

READ: Winter Olympics day four: Live updates

READ: Best photos from day four in Pyeongchang

Champion performance

The first female snowboarder in history to land back-to-back 1080 degree spins in competition aged just 15, the four-time X-Games gold medalist is not an unknown. She is used to being in the spotlight.

But on a day when the sun's glare dazzled off the pristine snow, Kim's star shone as brightly as any of sport's biggest names. She has entered a whole new world.

The girl who would climb onto a trampoline each morning before elementary school to practice jumps and flips later admitted she felt like crying before embarking on her thrilling grand finale.

She performed three spins on the left side, becoming the first female to land consecutive 1080s in the halfpipe at the Olympics.

Members of Kim's family whooped and hollered. Overcome with emotion, Kim's sister could not speak. American flags were raised towards the azure sky. It was spellbinding.

Her final score of 98.25 was eight-and-a-half points clear of Chinese silver medalist Liu Jiayu.

An hour after her first Olympic gold had been won, the Californian cheerfully sauntered to the press conference, arm around her beaming father. Sharp elbows were needed to capture the moment.

"There's not enough of her to go around," said one journalist. "So aggressive," muttered another, dismayed at her fellow reporters.

Red mist nearly descended as a wayward tripod brushed a member of Team USA. Some needed reminding that these were the "Peace" Games.

'This one's for you grans'

Kim, the daughter of South Korean immigrants, dedicated her performance to her grandmother, who still lives in South Korea and was watching her granddaughter compete for the first time.

"I actually found out during the second run that she was at the bottom and I thought 'this one's for you grans.' I can't wait to go shopping with her," Kim told reporters.

The weight of expectation lifted, the teenage trailblazer -- talented enough but too young to compete under international rules at Sochi four years ago -- was relaxed enough to take selfies with compatriot and bronze medalist Arielle Gold before a room full of journalists and pretended to sing into the mic as one of her answers were translated.

She made peace signs to her father, Jong Jin Kim, who reciprocated from the back of the room, shaking his head and laughing at his daughter's calm.

The pressure had melted away for both of them.

"I was very stressed because everyone was saying Chloe was going to win gold but no one knows the result -- that I cannot control," he told CNN Sport.

"Now I'm happy, all the stress is gone. I'm the dad of an Olympic gold medalist, not many people have this kind of feeling."

READ: Teenage snowboarder Red Gerard wins first USA gold

'For my family'

Kim has said she often cries when speaking about her father, the man who is the embodiment of the American Dream, emigrating to the States in 1982 with $800 in cash. He has had a starring role in his daughter's success. After winning gold, Kim admitted she was unable to fathom "leaving your life behind and chasing this dream with your kid."

The elder Kim gave up his job so that his youngest daughter's jaw-dropping talent could blossom. He would carry her from her bed to the car and drive from La Palma in California to Mammoth Mountain, five-and-a-half hours away.

"Everybody does hard work for their kid, but I thank my daughter because she achieved the result," he added. "She's a good kid. I tell her to be humble, that this is from hard work, that you weren't born this way."

Also watching on, amazed by the attention, was Kim's mum. There has already been an upshot to her daughter's Olympic feat, she admitted -- more Instagram followers.

"My mum keeps asking me to post pictures of her so she can get more followers. We definitely have fun with it," said Kim, explaining that her Twitter followers have doubled since the Games began.

Countless questions were asked: what was she listening to before each run? Lady Gaga at first, for the last two runs she couldn't remember. What would she most like to eat? A burger and fries, or a pizza.

"I don't know what I'm saying right now, but I'm just really happy," she added.

"I'm definitely happy with how I was able to handle the pressure. When you work for something for so long and you go home with the best possible outcome is amazing.

"Today I really did it for my family."

Thousands on social media have already congratulated the teenager, while her first Twitter post on becoming Olympic champion has received over 25,000 likes.

Her coronation complete, more fans will follow during what is expected to be a long reign.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 55947

Reported Deaths: 1654
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hennepin17789819
Ramsey6861261
Dakota3942102
Anoka3327112
Stearns281720
Washington188643
Nobles17456
Olmsted162023
Scott136214
Mower10782
Rice9898
Blue Earth8485
Wright8015
Carver7692
Clay74340
Kandiyohi6701
Sherburne6387
St. Louis42719
Todd4182
Lyon4153
Freeborn3541
Steele3271
Nicollet30713
Benton3043
Watonwan2980
Winona24516
Crow Wing20613
Martin2035
Le Sueur1991
Beltrami1910
Chisago1761
Goodhue1758
Otter Tail1753
Cottonwood1710
Pipestone1439
Becker1421
McLeod1350
Unassigned13540
Douglas1290
Itasca12912
Polk1293
Waseca1280
Pine1260
Carlton1240
Dodge1220
Murray1221
Isanti1080
Chippewa971
Brown832
Meeker832
Morrison831
Faribault820
Sibley782
Wabasha780
Koochiching733
Rock730
Jackson700
Pennington701
Mille Lacs643
Fillmore610
Cass582
Renville585
Lincoln540
Swift521
Grant491
Yellow Medicine490
Roseau450
Houston400
Pope390
Norman340
Redwood300
Aitkin280
Hubbard280
Kanabec281
Marshall280
Wilkin283
Mahnomen231
Wadena230
Big Stone220
Red Lake190
Lake170
Stevens150
Clearwater140
Traverse100
Lac qui Parle60
Kittson40
Cook20
Lake of the Woods10

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 45592

Reported Deaths: 877
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Polk9709202
Woodbury364250
Black Hawk299762
Linn208987
Johnson191815
Dallas178735
Buena Vista178412
Scott159012
Dubuque152729
Marshall138324
Pottawattamie121223
Story111013
Wapello84531
Muscatine82448
Crawford7153
Webster7125
Sioux5932
Cerro Gordo58117
Tama53729
Warren5261
Jasper45424
Plymouth4438
Wright4411
Louisa37814
Dickinson3754
Clinton3123
Washington28710
Hamilton2391
Boone2282
Franklin2134
Bremer1877
Clarke1853
Carroll1811
Emmet1791
Clay1711
Hardin1660
Shelby1591
Marion1520
Allamakee1494
Poweshiek1468
Benton1421
Des Moines1392
Jackson1391
Mahaska13617
Guthrie1265
Floyd1242
Jones1231
Cedar1201
Hancock1162
Butler1132
Pocahontas1131
Henry1123
Buchanan1101
Lyon1000
Madison1002
Cherokee971
Clayton973
Harrison960
Taylor930
Lee923
Delaware901
Monona900
Humboldt891
Iowa881
Winneshiek821
Calhoun812
Mills810
Sac810
Fayette790
Jefferson780
Palo Alto780
Kossuth770
Osceola770
Mitchell760
Page740
Winnebago730
Grundy721
Union701
Monroe667
Worth610
Chickasaw500
Davis491
Howard480
Cass471
Appanoose433
Lucas434
Montgomery433
Greene380
Fremont360
Van Buren311
Keokuk301
Ida290
Audubon281
Decatur210
Ringgold211
Adair200
Adams160
Wayne151
Unassigned70
Rochester
Clear
50° wxIcon
Hi: 70° Lo: 48°
Feels Like: 50°
Mason City
Clear
49° wxIcon
Hi: 72° Lo: 49°
Feels Like: 46°
Albert Lea
Broken Clouds
55° wxIcon
Hi: 70° Lo: 49°
Feels Like: 55°
Austin
54° wxIcon
Hi: 71° Lo: 48°
Feels Like: 54°
Charles City
Clear
54° wxIcon
Hi: 71° Lo: 49°
Feels Like: 54°
Starting the week of dry
KIMT Radar
KIMT Eye in the sky

Latest Video

Image

Community adapting to changes at Rochester parks

Image

Fire-related fatalities increase in Minnesota

Image

Sean's Weather 8/3

Image

Campaign signs in Albert Lea

Image

Campaign signs go missing in Albert Lea

Image

Run the Woods race

Image

Don Bosco scores two in the 6th, stuns Newman for state title

Image

Pine Island holds community resource drive

Image

Pop up event for the homeless

Image

Seans 8/1 Weather

Community Events