What You Probably Don't Know About Olympian Chloe Kim

For those that enjoy watching the Winter Olympics, you're probably already aware of who Chloe Kim is. For those not so akin to this Olympian's insane talent — we'll clue you in. By the young age of only 17, Chloe Kim had already made history as the youngest person to ever win a gold medal at the 2015 X Games, became the first female snowboarder to land back-to-back 1080s in 2016, and was the first person ever to win "all four major snowboarding titles in the Olympics, Worlds, Youth Olympics, and X Games," according to the official Olympics website.

Kim is an impressive athlete, but she's also funny and down-to-earth, as she has been known for her cute smile and relatable tweets about being "hangry" and eating churros (per Time Magazine). Not only was she relatable as a young teen hitting the slopes, but at the beginning of 2022, she publicly opened up about how difficult it was to be so famous at such a young age and the toll racism against Asian-Americans has had on her.

There's likely a lot that goes on behind the scenes of these incredible athletes, and Ms. Kim is no exception. Between the inspiration for her success to other intimate details of her personal and professional life, check out some things you may not have known about Olympian Chloe Kim.

She grew up in California with a very supportive father

According to Team USA, Chloe Kim was born at the turn of the millennium on April 23, 2000, in Long Beach, California to Boran Kim and Jonh Jin Kim. Chloe's father, Jong Jin Kim, immigrated to the United States in 1982 from South Korea. Jonh Jin later gave up his career to dedicate his life to helping Chloe train. Chloe's father is likely her biggest supporter, and is frequently caught in pictures on the sidelines cheering his daughter on with a large "Go Chloe!" sign in hand. In fact, her father told the "Today" show in 2018 that Chloe is his "American Dream" (via People). 

Not only did Chloe's father give up his own career to help her pursue snowboarding full-time, but he's the one that got her into the sport in the first place. Chloe told People in 2018 that she has been snowboarding since she was only 4 years old, and was initially brought out onto the slopes to "bribe [her] mom to come snowboarding with [her dad]" so he essentially used young Chloe as "the bait." Luckily, Chloe's dad still gets to use his old job as an engineer in helping her train as Chloe explains that he "really understands the physics of things and how gravity works and all that crazy stuff."

She has two older sisters, and some of her family lives in Korea

Chloe Kim has two older sisters, Erica and Tracy, from her father's previous marriage. While Kim is an incredible athlete, she is also a regular woman who enjoys shopping, being with her pets, and (likely) gossiping with her sisters. Per Cosmopolitan, Chloe's sisters may be a good influence on her as she noted, "my sisters have told me so many fun stories about college," and she was "just so excited" to go back in 2018.

Chloe and her sisters were raised in a "very culturally Korean environment" with traditional Korean meals (such as the popular beef dish, bulgogi, which Kim specifically mentioned her mother's "delicious" homemade version) and speaking Korean. For Kim, the 2018 Olympics were a chance for her to "represent the U.S., Korea, and [her] family," some of whom still live back in Korea. In a piece for ESPN, Chloe herself admitted that she stopped speaking to her family in Korean in public for a long time (something she now regrets) as a result of racism — but she is now "so proud" to be Asian.

She had a Barbie doll designed in her likeness

By 2018, Chloe Kim had made such a huge name for herself that she was the inspiration behind a new Barbie doll (a huge honor — especially for such a young woman). As part of Barbie's "Shero" (i.e., "She Hero") collection, in 2018, Kim had a Barbie doll made in her likeness. Kim's Barbie doll was released in a collection that aimed to inspire young girls to find role models in these types of women as Kim's doll was released along-side other inspiring women such as Amelia Earhart (aviation pioneer), Frida Kahlo (painter), and Katherine Johnson (a mathematician from NASA).

In a statement for Teen Vogue, Kim responded to getting her own Barbie doll by saying, "Barbie's message to show girls that they can be anything is something I can get behind," going on to say that she was "so honored to be considered a role model" and that she "want[ed] girls to know that they can be athletic and girly at the same time!" You go, girl!

She's been struggling with her mental health since 2018

In early 2022, Chloe Kim decided to be open about how hard life was for her after the 2018 Olympics were over. Per Time Magazine, after the high of the 2018 Olympics, Kim said she "hated life" and really struggled with the sudden fame and constant recognition. In fact, she actually threw her gold medal from the Olympics in the trash (yes, really). Rest assured that it did NOT stay in the trash as she learned to cope with the fame.

In 2021, Kim was finally fed up enough with the racism she had experienced that she spoke up about it. Per ESPN, Kim reports not only feeling "scared" and "helpless" with the new wave of Asian-specific racism that she and her family have endured since the coronavirus pandemic began, but she also opened up about racism she has experienced, daily, for years as an athlete. Kim told ESPN that after she won a silver medal in 2014 at the X Games, "There were messages in [her] DMs telling [her] to go back to China and to stop taking medals away from the white American girls on the team."

Between the racism Kim experienced, the pressure of being an athlete, and the sudden amount of crazy attention from everyone, Kim's mental health has been a struggle since her big win in 2018. According to Time Magazine, Kim "embraced therapy" after the pandemic led to the realization (as we're sure it did for a lot of us) that she needed to get her mental health in check. This has made her feel "more at peace," and she feels excited to take on the Beijing Olympics in 2022.

If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health, please contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741, call the National Alliance on Mental Illness helpline at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264), or visit the National Institute of Mental Health website.

She attended Princeton University

Perhaps due to her sister's previously mentioned positive influences, Chloe Kim was accepted at Princeton University after she won her first gold medal at the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics and, while she waited until 2019 to attend, she did begin to attend that year (per People). Attending school at Princeton was difficult for her at first because so many people recognized her, and she "just wanted a normal college experience." After a while, Kim adjusted and made friends with people who weren't familiar with her fame and got a much-needed break from stardom. During the coronavirus pandemic, Chloe maintained her studies online as she began training again.

Because Kim still finds the "most joy when she's on the mountain doing what she loves," she is going back to competing — although slowly, keeping her mental health in check this go-round. As of the fall of 2021, Chloe has taken a "leave of absence" from Princeton to focus on her training for the 2022 Winter Olympics and is "weaning back into things" when it comes to dealing with the media.

She's in a romantic relationship

As of late 2021, Chloe Kim was still dating Evan Berle, a former professional skateboarder, and student at UCLA (per The New York Times). The couple met in 2019 through "mutual friends in the skateboarding world" and Berle has been noted for supporting Chloe through tough times. According to Kim, the coronavirus pandemic had a significant impact on her. Not only because of the increased racism experienced by Asian-Americans but also because she was experiencing symptoms of depression, and Berle would have to "make [her] stop watching the news, because [she] would literally sit in front of the TV and cry."

In the summer of 2020, Kim and Berle moved in together in a new home in Los Angeles, with Kim's parents only "a few blocks away" — something that has to be comforting for Kim after she spent so much time worrying about her parents during the pandemic. Plus, as Kim put it, this way, "If I'm hungry or craving mom's food, I'll call my mom." Personally, we're betting Kim is frequently calling her mom about some of that homemade bulgogi. Yum!

She makes bank on her endorsements

Unsurprisingly, with Chloe Kim's incredible talent and bubbly personality, it didn't take her long before she was sought out by major brands for endorsements. Per Time Magazine, Kim is the "highest-paid female snowboarder in history" with sponsors such as Nike, Toyota, and Procter & Gamble, making her as much as "mid-seven figures" annually. Not only is Kim rolling in the metaphorical dough, but she is doing so her way. In 2018, Kim told CNBC that she only wants to work with sponsors if they agree on the message being presented, going on to explain that if she didn't agree with "messages that they wanted to use [her] to convey," she doesn't want to work with them at all. What a class act.

In 2021, Kim also partnered up with the brand Roxy to create a "snow collection" of outerwear pieces set to come out in winter 2022 (per Forbes). While Kim is a self-defined "fashion over function type gal" (per Forbes) she is also putting in her own experience to make the clothes more functional. For example, she helped create a pair of overalls with a back flap with a zipper to make it easier to use the bathroom (something all of us gals can get behind). Snow clothes that someone who has been called "the greatest women's snowboarder of all time" (per Time Magazine) helped design? That line is sure to be popular and earn Kim even more money come winter 2022.