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Chloe Kim impressed Winter Olympics snowboarders from a young age



chloe kim 2017Sean M.
Haffey/Getty


  • Chloe Kim won a gold medal in the women’s halfpipe
    final at the Winter Olympics on Tuesday.
  • Kim was the heavy gold-medal favorite and has been one
    of the most dominant snowboarders in the world for years,
    despite only being 17.
  • Olympic snowboarder Kelly Clark said she remembers Kim
    as a little girl asking to ride the chairlift with her at
    snowboard club and then wowing with her work ethic.

On Tuesday in Pyeongchang, Chloe Kim had the big Winter
Olympics
moment everyone was waiting for.


Kim dominated the women’s halfpipe final
en route to a gold
medal. She technically won after her first-run score, but went on
a third run anyway, with the gold already sealed, and landed
back-to-back 1080s.

Kim entered the games as the heavy gold-medal favorite after
years of dominating at lower levels. She was good enough to
qualify for the Sochi Olympics in 2014, but was too young to go.

Even before that, she had impressed some of the best snowboarders
in the world with her skill and work ethic. In a
profile of Kim from ESPN’s Alyssa Roenigk
, Olympic
snowboarder Kelly Clark told a great anecdote about how
impressive Kim was at a young age.

Kim spent two years living in Switzerland, returning to the U.S.
when she was about 10 years old. She joined the Mammoth Mountain
snowboard team where she encountered Clark, a 2002 gold-medal
winner who is 17 years Kim’s elder.

“I was in the lift line at Mammoth, and this little girl in
a blue helmet with a pink face mask asked to ride the chair with
me,” Clark told Roenigk. “Then I started seeing her at the
halfpipe. The sheer amount of days I would see her out there,
regardless of weather, spoke volumes.”

According to Roenigk, Kim started snowboarding when she was
four and took to the sport with ease, going off jumps and hitting
rails by the time she was five. When it became clear she was a
special talent, her father drove her five hours each way to
Mammoth Mountain, beginning at 2am.

The women’s halfpipe final on Tuesday was like a
culmination of it all — a clearly special talent accomplishing
the inevitable. But at 17, Kim may only just be getting
started.


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