Chloe Kim made international headlines on the halfpipe at PyeongChang 2018 when she became the youngest woman to win an Olympic snowboarding medal at 17 years old. However, such a tremendous victory came with tremendous pressures, as she became a symbol to represent Asian Americans in athletics at a very young age.
“Every time I’m stepping outside, I have to make sure I’m putting my best foot forward,” Kim told espnW. “That’s hard sometimes. I ask people not to be so harsh. It has even affected my family. My mom’s doing this knitting class and said she has to be careful, she’s worried she might say something weird. We’re working on it as a collective.”
espnW interviewed Kim in honor of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month (APAHM) to discuss success and growing up in the spotlight.
Kim made sure to thank her family for her successes and continues to be grateful for them. Her parents instilled in her a drive to work hard for success since she was young.
“My dad never quit or let me give up or anything like that,” said Kim. “I just like what I do, it was never hard to motivate myself. I always wanted to do more. If I didn’t like what I did, I’d be miserable in the mountains. I do what I do solely because I love it, and that’s all the motivation you need.”
All that hard work has brought her an Olympic gold medal and national fame, but that fame means little rest in the public eye.
“Sometimes when we go and eat, we have a strategic way of sitting at the table so that no one can see me,” said Kim. “I don’t want to sound like a brat who says she hates her fans, I love my fans. Sometimes though I just want to be left alone. I’m so anxious about what I’m saying, what I’m wearing, or what I look like. It can be really hard.
“I’m working on accepting that that’s my life now. It’s always going to be like that, I’m always going to be judged. Sometimes I’m like, ‘damn, I wish I didn’t tweet about churros that one time.'”
As for defining success outside of snowboarding, Kim claims she’s the worst person to ask.
“I haven’t found it yet. I’m going to college. I’m going to see what I can do with my life outside of snowboarding. I’ll have an answer for you in six years.”
Kim will be attending college at Princeton, where she hopes to major in a science, reports The New York Times.
“Even after I snowboard, I hope that my next career involves helping others,” Kim said in the Panda Express interview. “As long as I’m helping others, I’ll be very happy with my life.”
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