Chloe Kim was destined to be a breakout star at the 2018 Winter Olympics. At just 17 years old, the Long Beach, California, native has more than lived up to impossible expectations by not only winning gold in the women’s snowboard halfpipe, but by doing so with a dominating near-perfect score of 98.25.
She’s currently one of Team USA’s best and brightest, but her star has been rising for a while now. Kim would have qualified for the Sochi games in 2014 if it weren’t for those pesky age requirements. (She was only 13, and 15 was the cutoff.) She was also a four-time gold medalist at the Winter X Games and won the gold for both halfpipe and slopestyle at the 2016 Winter Youth Olympics. And her story is equal parts inspiring and relatable for so many. Here are just some of the reasons we love her.
1. She loves to eat and hates when she’s “hangry.” Kim caused a commotion when she tweeted regret over not finishing her breakfast sandwich — while she was competing for a gold medal. She has also tweeted about her love of ice cream and churros, and after she snagged the gold, the Today show served up a platter of all her faves.
2. Her Korean-born dad is her number one supporter. Jong-Jin Kim emigrated from South Korea to California in 1982. About 10 years ago, he quit his engineering job to support his daughter’s blossoming snowboarding career, and in a recent interview with Today, he called Chloe his “American dream.” Fans flipped out over the adorableness of his handmade, laminated “Go Chloe!” sign as she competed in PyeongChang.
3. She gets hyped to compete with her favorite music. Fans took note early on of Chloe’s habit of jamming her earbuds in and listening to music before competing. So what’s she listening to? During her first run in the gold-medal competition, it was Lady Gaga’s “Paparazzi.” For her third run, it was “Motorsport” by Migos, Cardi B, and Nicki Minaj.
4. She’s a record breaker. Her gold medal makes Chloe the youngest woman to ever win a medal for Olympic snowboarding. She was also the first woman to land back-to-back 1080s in the X Games when she was just 15. She pulled off the same trick during her gold-medal run, because why not?
5. She’s a smarty pants. Chloe is in the middle of applying to Harvard and told Cosmo she wants to study either business or law, and eventually plans to become a sports agent.
6. She’s a total perfectionist. “Going to my third run I knew I had the gold,” Chloe told reporters after making her win official. “But I also knew I wouldn’t be satisfied taking the gold and knowing that I hadn’t put down my best. That third run was for me — to put down the best run I could do.”
7. She’s all about her family. Chloe’s extended family came out to watch her compete at PyeongChang — including her grandmother, who traveled from Seoul to watch in person for the first time. Chloe said she gave a little “this one’s for you, Grams,” before nailing her third, gold-medal winning run. She celebrated by joining them all for a group hug after her victory.
(photos via Kirill Kudryavtsev/AFP/Getty Images + Cameron Spencer/Getty Images + David Ramos/Getty Images)