Chloe Kim: Legend in the Making
It began with a used snowboard purchased on eBay for $25. Trips to Mammoth Mountain followed, and 4-year-old Chloe and her father, Jong Jing, would topple over while dismounting from chair lifts. It's blossoming into one of the greatest careers in snowboarding history.
Kim is the youngest person in X Games history to earn three gold medals. She has new sponsors like Nike and the South Korea-based skin care company Laneige. Time Magazine named her one of the most influential teens of 2015 and 2016, while Forbes listed her in the 30 Under 30 Sports rankings for 2017. And with the 2018 Olympics in her parents' home country of South Korea, Kim likely will be one of the most popular athletes in the world before long.
Chloe is also a typical girly-girl teenager who enjoys clothes shopping, manicures and swapping out bright blues, pinks and purples in her hair. She's straight out of L.A. (well, Torrance), and she owns it, saying, "I just want to be that young girl from L.A. who snowboards and gets her nails done."
She's human, too, needing two attempts to pass her driver's test. "The first time the lady was really old and I couldn't understand her," Chloe recounts. "I thought she was saying 'emergency break,' but she was saying 'emergency flashers.' It was so embarrassing."
Though she's anything but typical on a snowboard.
At just 13, Chloe made her first X Games appearance at Aspen 2014. She earned silver in SuperPipe, despite seemingly spending as much time Snapchatting at the top of the SuperPipe as prepping for her runs. She's the youngest medalist in X Games winter event history.
In 2015, Chloe became the youngest to win XG gold at a winter event (Kelly Sildaru, 13, broke that mark in 2016). In the process, Kim unseated perennial champ Kelly Clark. The victory was controversial: Chloe's winning run was technical and progressive, but it included a massive sketch -- she came up about 90 degrees short on a Cab 900, dragging both hands down the pipe wall before riding away. She also totaled only five hits to Clark's six.
Chloe left no doubt at a snowy Buttermilk in 2016. She dominated, with amplitude well above the rest of the field (Kim logged the top four Huck heights). Handling the challenging conditions far better than the competition, Chloe's score (95.00) was a full 9 points better than that of silver medalist Arielle Gold.
One week after Aspen, Chloe made more history at the Park City Grand Prix: She linked an enormous frontside 1080 to a Cab 1080 in the middle of her run, and judges awarded her with a perfect 100. She is the only woman to land back-to-back 1080s and to earn a perfect score in professional snowboard competition.
And she wasn't done. Improving upon the Park City performance at X Games Oslo, Chloe threw back-to-back 1080s before finishing with an alley-oop 540 and McTwist. She logged a 98.00, the highest mark given to a woman in XG SuperPipe history.
What's next? Kim says she has new tricks in mind but won't divulge them. X Games always has been ground zero for innovation and progression, so expect to see something new in January. Just don't expect to see her ceiling.
Chloe Kim returns for X Games Aspen 2017, with an automatic invite to compete in Women's Snowboard SuperPipe. Round 1 and finals begin at 8:45 p.m. MT on Thurs., Jan. 26.
Follow Chloe Kim on Instagram for the latest on her exploits as she heads into X Games Aspen 2017.