The Snow Queen

Joanne Quach, Editor-in-Chief

Chloe Kim, just 17 years old became the youngest woman to win an Olympic snowboarding medal, winning gold in the women’s snowboard halfpipe.

Kim was born in Long Beach, California on April 23, 2000, and later raised in Torrance. At the age of four, she began her snowboarding journey while on a trip to Mammoth Mountain. Her father, Jong Jin Kim wanted to try the sport out and decided to take her along with him.

Kim told NBC Olympics, “I was not so sure about the sport when I first started, but as I went snowboarding more and started progressing, I started to fall in love with it. I just think I had more fun snowboarding when I was able to go into the air and do spins and flips.”

Two years later, after just beginning to snowboard, she entered her first competition as a member of Team Mountain High.

Fast forward to 2014, Kim was too young to compete in the Sochi Winter Olympics so she headed to the Winter X Games instead. The Winter X Games —hosted, produced, and broadcast by ESPN— is a competition compiled of winter sport athletes competing in events such as skiing, snowboarding, and snowmobiling. During her 5 years participating in the Winter X Games, she has won 4 gold, 1 silver, and 1 bronze medal. In 2016 X Games, she became the first person under the age of 16 to win two gold medals (and thus the first such person to win back-to-back gold medals). To place a cherry on top of that, during a halfpipe contest at the Park City Grand Prix, Kim made history as the first woman to land back-to-back 1080s, scoring a perfect 100 points.

In addition to the 2016 X Games, she also competed in the Winter Youth Olympics. Kim became the first American woman to win a gold medal in snowboarding at the Winter Youth Olympic Games and earned the highest snowboarding score in Youth Olympic Games history at the time.

Finally, in the 2018 Winter Olympics Chloe Kim was able to participate. She put up a score of 93.75 on the first of her three final runs and then bettered it with a near-perfect 98.25 on her final run. With that score, she victoriously took Gold in the Women’s Halfpipe finals.

“It was the best run that she’s ever done,” said Rick Bower, halfpipe snowboard head coach for the U.S. Snowboard Team.

This 17-year-old was named as one of TIME Magazine’s 30 Most Influential Teens in 2016 and also named Snowboarding Athlete of the Year at the 2016 US Ski and Snowboard Association [USSA] Awards.