Chloe Kim’s cool, but her dad may be even cooler

Chloe Kim\'s cool, but her dad may be even cooler
Chloe Kim’s Korean-American dad calls her the ‘American dream’
nChloe Kim, still every bit of 17 years old, still excited to go shopping with her grandma and snap selfies and tweet about her hunger pangs between runs down the snowboard halfpipe, was made for the moment she created at Phoenix Snow Park. Every move for the past decade, from sending her to Switzerland for elementary school to globetrotting in search of competition to crafting the cereal-box-ready image of a California girl who was her parents’ American Dream, was GPS-guided toward this. This is how you build a child into a brand in 2018.

America had fallen in love – as America is wont to do when the story is literally as picture perfect as Kim’s – well before the stunning third run that came after she had locked up gold with a first-run 93.75. Kim heaved herself high above the 22-foot wall to grab her board on the first hit and followed with the trick unique to her: back-to-back 1080s, twirling three times each. Three more flawless jumps followed, and her score of 98.25 blew away silver medalist Jiayu Liu and American Arielle Gold, who took bronze.

The team from Russia picked up bronze with Anastasia Bryzgalova tumbling onto the ice but bouncing back with teammate – and husband – Aleksandr Krushelnitckii for an 8-4 victory over Norway. Bryzgalova was shuffling backward in the third end when she stumbled over a stone and had her legs fly out from under her and she crashed hard onto her backside. The spill drew gasps from the stunned crowd and left a stunned Bryzgalova embarrassed for a moment.

Chloe Kim’s Korean-American dad calls her the ‘American dream’

“I don’t really know what’s happening, and I actually feel a little anxious right now,” Kim said. “I’m a little overwhelmed. But this is the best outcome I could ever ask for. It’s been such a long journey. Ahhh. Going home with a gold is amazing.”

In a rush of night-time finishes, Kjeld Nuis led a Dutch double in the men’s 1,500-meter speedskating final, Natalie Geisenberger successfully defended her women’s luge title in a 1-2 finish for Germany, the cross-country classic sprint titles went to Johannes Hoesflot Klaebo of Norway and Stina Nilsson of Sweden, and Italian short-track speedskater Arianna Fontana won the women’s 500 meters.

An American story: How Chloe Kim, daughter of immigrants and social-media star, won Olympic gold

It is so much, so soon, though that captures the essence of Kim’s existence. Tears flooded her eyes as she stood atop the podium, and her mom couldn’t stave them off, either, and her sister was bawling into Kim’s hair. Only Jong Kim, her father, who had held aloft the laminated sign that said “Go Chloe!”, staunched the blubbering.

Lawes and Morris were too good in the mixed doubles curling final, with Switzerland conceding in the sixth end of the match after missing an opportunity for a takeout with its last shot of the end. That gave Canada another two points. Seeing no way to come back from the deficit, the Swiss ended the game.

“My dad didn’t cry, which I don’t get at all,” Kim said. “Like, what are you doing?”

Chloe Kim had both of the top two runs in the women’s Olympic halfpipe final. (Getty)MoreWhat he has always done: straddle the existence between assertiveness and nuisance. Parents of prodigies have long struggled with that fine line, and Jong’s involvement with Kim’s career is unmatched in snowboarding. He saw genius in his daughter.

Saito, a reserve on the 5,000-meter relay team, said in a statement that he was “extremely shocked” by the results and has “never used anabolic steroids.” He did not race in any event before the test result from a pre-competition sample was confirmed.

“When she was 8,” Jong said, “I thought, ‘Well, maybe I can bring her to the Olympics.’ ”

In Jeongseon, Hirscher’s combined two-run time was 0.23 seconds faster than silver medalist Alexis Pinturault of France. The Austrian is a three-time Olympian who had previously won only a silver medal despite never finishing below fifth in any race.
Chloe Kim's Korean-American dad calls her the 'American dream'
Chloe Kim’s Korean-American dad calls her the ‘American dream’

So he quit his job and devoted his life to Kim. She moved to Geneva to live with her aunt. When Jong visited, they went to France so she could ride the halfpipe in Avoriaz. He accompanied her around the world at 10, when she would show up to competitions and flummox organizers that couldn’t fathom a girl this young, this good. Whatever potholes presented themselves – “Girls are kind of very difficult to take care of,” Jong said – were filled in with the promise of what was to come.

Kim, her father likes to say, was born in the year of the dragon – an important animal in Korea, where he lived until he moved to the United States in 1982. Legend says a dragon isn’t born a dragon. It is a giant serpent called an imugi that takes 1,000 years to grow into a dragon.

“I’m super happy because now this stupid question has gone away, if I’m thinking that my career is perfect without a gold medal,” Hirscher said. “Now the question is zzzzzzit – deleted.”
An American story: How Chloe Kim, daughter of immigrants and social-media star, won Olympic gold
An American story: How Chloe Kim, daughter of immigrants and social-media star, won Olympic gold

PyeongChang Moments: Kim dominates for 1st Olympic gold, Hirscher breaks through

“Today,” Jong said Tuesday, “is the day imugi turns to dragon.”

Liu Jiayu finished second with 89.75 to become the first Chinese snowboarder to medal at the Olympics. Kim’s teammate, Arielle Gold, overcame a dislocated shoulder during training to earn a bronze.
Chloe Kim realizes immigrant family's 'American dream' at Olympics
Chloe Kim realizes immigrant family’s ‘American dream’ at Olympics

Kim’s competitors saw nothing but the straight fire to which they’re accustomed. By 13, she was good enough to qualify for the Olympics – and probably medal – but age restrictions kept her from the Sochi Games. This gold was four years in the making, and it gave Kim and her team of handlers ample time to mold her image and persona.

“I was trying so hard to hold the tears back, cause I was like, ‘I can’t cry right now, I can’t do this, I worked so hard on my eyeliner’,” she said. “It’s such an honor to just represent the US in the country where my parents immigrated from and just this whole process has been amazing and this journey has been so fun and full of so many memories that I will hold on to for the rest of my life.”

Chloe Kim isn’t just a gold medalist: she’s a transcendent star

There were the between-runs tweets about wanting ice cream and being hangry and the full-throated endorsement of churros as a performance enhancer. There was the cultivation of an Instagram account with such a big audience that her mom begs her to comment on her photos or like them to boost her following. The NBC commercials, the ad campaigns, the sponsorships – all of it followed the formula at which the snowboarding community writ large forever has sneered.

Jillian Ruffo February 13, 2018 11:15 AM The winter Olympics is a time for celebration, competition and a whole lot of television watching. And this year’s, which are taking place in Pyeongchang, Korea, are also home to plenty of beauty inspiration – like the moment Chloe Kim won a gold medal but didn’t shed a single tear of happiness in fear of ruining her eyeliner.

Kim wasn’t a snowboarder who became a star. She was a creation for mass consumption, the evolutionary inevitability of what happens when a sport like snowboarding hits the Olympic mainstream: Within two decades, along comes a manufactured luminary without a whit of the counterculture verve that was long the sport’s essence.

It still exists, to a point, and always will. There is room, too, for Chloe Kim to burn brighter than Sirius, even if what lit her wasn’t made of organic materials. Plenty of time exists for her to understand herself outside of the bubble in which she was built before she knew what it was.

Winter Olympics day four – in pictures

For now, she’s just a kid doing amazing things. As she embraced her parents, reporters jostled for a look, one nearly coming to blows with a pushy photographer trying to capture the scene. Later, the dimples in her cheeks caved beneath a combination of joy and relief. This was over. And this was just starting.

If Kim is lucky, so much, so soon won’t turn into too much, too soon. She’ll keep sticking her tongue out in pictures and will take the SATs and will navigate far harder transitions than any she faces on a snowboard: from girlhood to womanhood, from passenger to driver, from Olympic gold medalist to whatever she pleases. Because while her father lived his American Dream in his homeland Tuesday, Chloe Kim’s story was just beginning.

Courtesy Laura Potesta Also supporting her country through nail art was Italian figure skater Valentina Marchei, who showed off her Italian flag nails when reacting to successful performance.

Victory lap: Chloe Kim takes her family on a gold-medal ride

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Cameron Spencer/Getty The gold medalist also showed her love for her home team and her parents’ home country on her nails, with flags of each country on her fingers.

The top photos from the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

At Olympics, Chloe Kim takes family on one more epic ride

Chloe Kim’s gravity-defying acrobatics en route to gold in the women’s halfpipe was something to behold.

Chloe Kim wins snowboarding gold at 2018 Winter Olympics as she lights up Pyeongchang Games

The highly touted 17-year-old snowboarder from California soared and spun while carrying both the weight of lofty expectations and NBC’s Monday prime-time telecast on her back at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.

“It’s so rare that people can live up to the hype,” NBC analyst Todd Richards said. “Chloe Kim absolutely did that today. It wasn’t any shock to me. We’ve seen it all season long. Chloe Kim is the future and it is here, inspiring women all over the world.”

The Court of Arbitration for Sport said Saito “accepted on a voluntary basis to be provisionally suspended and to leave the Olympic Village.” Yasuo Saito, vice president of the Japanese Olympic Committee, said the JOC would work to help the 21-year-old skater clear his name after the Olympics.

Off her board as much as on it, Kim was a big winner for Team USA, snowboarding, her future marketing possibilities and, obviously, NBC.

Saito, a reserve on the 5,000-meter relay team, said in a statement that he was “extremely shocked” by the results and has “never used anabolic steroids.” He did not race in any event before the test result from a pre-competition sample was confirmed.

On top of her gold-medal performance — quantified by the 98.25 score Kim racked up after she already had secured the medal with a well-ahead-of-the-pack first run — there was the infectious big smile, tears and an endearing affection for comfort food shared via her Twitter account, @chloekimsnow.

In Jeongseon, Hirscher’s combined two-run time was 0.23 seconds faster than silver medalist Alexis Pinturault of France. The Austrian is a three-time Olympian who had previously won only a silver medal despite never finishing below fifth in any race.

Following references earlier in the Winter Games to churros and ice cream, there was a tweet between between her final runs expressing regret over leaving a pre-event breakfast sandwich unfinished, noting “now I’m getting hangry.”

Other events with medals scheduled to be awarded include the men’s and women’s cross-country sprints, curling mixed doubles, women’s luge singles, men’s 1,500-meter speedskating and women’s 500-meter short-track speedskating.

Yet had “hangry” Kim (apparently hungry and angry) failed to deliver, NBC Olympics executives would have been the ones feeling agita, especially while still waiting to see how much-promoted Mikaela Shiffrin and popular veteran U.S. skier Lindsey Vonn do when they finally hit the slopes.

A few hours after 17-year-old Chloe Kim dominated the women’s halfpipe snowboarding final on Tuesday, 28-year-old Marcel Hirscher, a six-time overall World Cup champion, won the men’s combined at the Pyeongchang Games.

The halfpipe queen: Chloe Kim wins gold

Men’s snowboarder Shaun White, an old Olympics hand, provided some drama in topping the men’s halfpipe qualifying that stretched from prime time into the late-night slot packaged as prime-plus, setting the stage for a finals showdown with Australian Scotty James.

Chloe Kim, of the United States, reacts to her run during the women’s halfpipe finals at Phoenix Snow Park at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2018. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

The men’s super-G got underway on a course modified to minimizing the effects of high winds. The changes kept racers from going airborne quite so much, sapping some of the visual appeal.

Kim, from Torrance, California, put up a score of 93.75 on the first of her three finals runs and then topped that with a near-perfect 98.75 on her last run — having already wrapped up her first Olympic gold.

Not that danger is ever far from possible in many of these winter events, helmets and precautions notwithstanding. From luge and the ominously named skeleton to, well, anything at high speed on a mountain, the risks are part of the unspoken thrill.

(It’s hard to watch the halfpipe without thinking of the viral video of White’s training run gone awry last fall in New Zealand, which required 62 stitches across his forehead, lips and tongue. And much was made of Canadian slopestyle bronze medalist Mark McMorris’ near-fatal injuries a year ago.)

But there is something about watching one world-class athlete after another do — or at least trying to do — the same thing with varying degrees of success that can be numbing after a point to the untrained eye and casual quadrennial enthusiast.

This is especially true on nights such as Monday when the absence of figure skating and NBC commentators Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir channeling their inner Simon Cowell as a palate cleanser is acutely felt.

That’s why Kim’s engaging and enthralling performance meant so much.

“You know when you watch a great athlete who’s just a notch above everybody else in the sport?” NBC prime-time host Mike Tirico said. “They don’t always win, but they wow you — kind of like Tiger (Woods) at the height of his prime in golf. Chloe Kim, if you didn’t know or understand all of the hype, maybe you understand now.”

“We’ve got churros mentioned, we’ve got ice cream mentioned in qualifiers, and now breakfast sandwiches?” Richards said, amused by Kim’s Twitter feed. “Someone take this girl out to dinner.”

NBC’s “Today” show popped for churros, ice cream and grilled ham and cheese, which Kim snacked on during a quick visit to the set Tuesday morning.

But seeing as how the “hangry” gold medalist served up exactly what the network needed, NBC should pick up the tab for a full sit-down meal.

‘I’m America’s sweetheart’: Adam Rippon won bronze, but he’s a gold-medal talker »

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The highly touted 17-year-old snowboarder from California soared and spun while carrying both the weight of lofty expectations and NBC’s Monday prime-time telecast on her back at the Pyeongchang…

Canada’s Kaitlyn Lawes and John Morris celebrate after winning their mixed doubles curling finals match against Switzerland at the 2018 Winter Olympics on Feb. 13, 2018. Canada won the gold medal.

USA’s Chloe Kim soars to Olympic gold in snowboard halfpipe

Canada’s Kaitlyn Lawes and John Morris celebrate after winning their mixed doubles curling finals match against Switzerland at the 2018 Winter Olympics on Feb. 13, 2018. Canada won the gold medal.

Gold medalist Kjeld Nuis of the Netherlands celebrates after winning the men’s 1,500-meter race at the Gangneung Oval on Feb. 13, 2018.

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Gold medalist Kjeld Nuis of the Netherlands celebrates after winning the men’s 1,500-meter race at the Gangneung Oval on Feb. 13, 2018.


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