Feature | Snowboard

Why transition to college life is so difficult for Chloe Kim

From PyeongChang to Princeton, Chloe Kim admits life as an Olympic champion studying at university is far from straightforward 

By Michael Hincks ·

College life is anything but simple for Chloe Kim.

Forget about going unnoticed at an Ivy League school. The American is still adjusting to her new challenge.

“College is OK, I guess,” she said in a video posted on social media.

With almost a million followers across Instagram and Twitter, life in the public eye has its benefit for the 19-year-old Olympic snowboard champion.

But there is a downside to fame, and it is affecting Kim's attempts to be a "legit student" after enrolling at the prestigious Princeton University.

Kim shot to super-stardom at Pyeongchang 2018 with her epic halfpipe gold, gaining an army of fans in the process.

“I’m going to fill you in a bit. I don’t think a lot of people understand that I’m a legit student. I’m trying to study. And, like, I would really appreciate it if I had a comfortable space here, I guess, but I don’t.

“As soon as I go to the dining hall, people stare at me. They whisper. They take pictures of me without me knowing. I don’t like it.

“I don’t think anyone would like it if you were just trying to have a meal and you see it. Like, I see that. I see it. I’m a human.

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“It’s been really, really hard to transition, but hopefully it gets better. And if not, then, yay,” she added sarcastically.

“So to anyone that’s here at Princeton and sees me at the dining hall or anywhere, please just remember that I’m a human being and I want a true, fun college experience.

“I would just really appreciate it if everyone respected my privacy and let me live my life. So thank you.”

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Kim’s plea indicates that her worst fears have come to fruition, having urged students back in February to “just be cool”.

“I’d love to live just a normal life there, where maybe people don’t recognise me and get to know me not because of what I do, but just because of me,” she told the New York Times.

“Anyone who is going to Princeton next year, just be cool.”

Kim is hoping to major in science, and will be looking to combine her studies with practice during this next Olympic cycle.

Her focus will also be on returning to the slopes fully fit ahead of the new season, having broken her ankle back in March.

The world champion required surgery after suffering the injury at the U.S. Open in Vali, Colorado, where she finished second behind Maddie Mastro.

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Chloe KIM

United States of America
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Number of medals

1 Olympic medals


Olympic Games

1 Olympic Games