How Snowboarder Chloe Kim Is Poised to Dominate the Winter Olympics — at Just 17!

PEOPLE.com | 2/11/2018 | Staff
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Even now — after the record-breaking, after three gold medals at the Winter X Games, after all the press coverage — 17-year-old snowboarder Chloe Kim still gets nervous before she drops into the half-pipe to compete.

“I’m shaking, my heart is pounding out of my chest, it’s like I’m freaking out,” she told PEOPLE in the fall, prior to her debut at the 2018 Olympic Games. “But once I’m moving, I feel fine and I feel relaxed.”

Kim - Months - Winter - Olympics - Women

And it shows: Kim, who won’t turn 18 until two months after the Winter Olympics, has dominated the women’s half-pipe in recent years, with back-to-back medals at the X Games every year since 2014.

On Dec. 15, she qualified for Team USA — the second time she’s made the cut (the first was in 2014) — but the first time she’s actually been old enough to compete in the Olympics.

Parents - Luck - Olympics - Korea - Parents

“My parents are really excited about it, and it’s some crazy luck that my first Olympics are going to be in Korea where my parents are from,” says Kim, a California native. “And a lot of my relatives over there have never really seen me compete before, so I think it’s going to be pretty cool for everyone. It’s really exciting, my whole family is really excited about it, so that gets me even more stoked!”

Kim says she feels she can “represent both Korea and America,” given her heritage.

Teen - Snowboard - Age - Dad - Mom

The teen says she first got on a snowboard at age 4, at her dad’s urging: “He took me there to bribe my mom to come snowboarding with him so I was like the bait.”

While she may be one of the youngest breakout stars on the snow in February, “hopefully I get to do more than one Olympics in my lifetime.”

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