After an incredible gold medal performance at the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics, the nation fell in love with 17-year-old snowboarding sensation Chloe Kim. Her bubbly, relatable personality clicked with many who watched her compete and launched Kim into superstardom.
After the Olympics — a time when many athletes get post-Olympic depression — Kim went through the media ringer of award shows, talk shows, magazines, and news interviews. There was even a Barbie doll styled after Kim.
Such a quick rise to fame is a rare event, but the spotlight isn’t for everyone. Some people have trouble adjusting, while others choose to leave it all behind completely. Kim certainly struggled with this transition.
“I hated life”, Kim said.
As Kim recalled one incident in particular, back in her hometown shortly after the Olympics, she felt uncomfortable even in her favorite restaurant. Kim was just going to quickly pick up a sandwich, looking a bit disheveled and casual — like anyone you might come across on your average afternoon at a deli — yet all eyes were on her from the moment she walked in.
“The minute I come home; I can’t even go to my goddamn favorite place…. It makes you angry,” Kim said. “I just wanted a day where I was left alone. And it’s impossible. And I appreciate that everyone loves and supports me, but I just wish people could understand what I was going through up to that point. Everyone was like, ‘I just met her, and she’s such a b***h.’ I’m not a b***h. I just had the most exhausting two months of my life, and the minute I get home I’m getting hassled. I just want to get my f**king ham and cheese sandwich and go.”
These events began to take a toll on Kim. It especially hit Kim when she received a message intended for someone else from another high-ranked snowboarder that called her a “cocky a** b***h”. Kim contemplated retirement after winning it all in 2018 at Pyeongchang.
“My 17, 18-year-old self was a lot more immature — like screw it all, I’m done,” Kim said. “I’m going to take a break and revisit this conversation later.”
However, Kim kept pushing on and competing. In March 2019, while competing at the U.S. Open, Kim broke her ankle and 22 months away from snowboarding gave Kim the time to recover from her ankle injury, and take a much-needed physical and mental break. During the downtime, Kim went to Princeton and met her best friend — her mini-Australian shepherd Reese.
Kim’s ankle injury was a blessing in disguise and she now feels much more confident, and secure in not only her abilities, but the person she is. Since Pyeongchang, Kim has won gold in the 2019 and 2021 Winter X Games Superpipe event, won a world cup at the U.S. Grand Prix, won a world cup in Switzerland, won the halfpipe snowboarding title at the Dew Tour, and successfully defended her title at the FIS Snowboarding World Championship. After an absolutely incredible 2021 season, Kim hopes to bring home gold once more at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.
On February 4, the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics commenced and P&G launched its newest ad “Always There,” featuring Kim and her father Jong Jin. The short film “explores Chloe’s real-life story -- the moments of teaching, support and care she received from her father to help her prepare for this moment. While the film features Chloe and her father, it’s about all the parents and loved ones who are always there and who prepare their children to stand on their own, persevere through setbacks, and embrace the challenges they face.”
To watch the ad, click here.