Feature | Snowboarding

Chloe Kim's advice on anxiety, how she wants to be "just chilling" for Beijing 2022

She may be an Olympic snowboard gold medallist and global fashion influencer, but Kim admits she struggled to cope with her first year at university.

By Olympic Channel ·

Chloe Kim knows a thing or two about dealing with anxiety.

Snowboarding since the age of four, Olympic champion at 17, handling all that pressure, Princeton and the Paparrazi.

She makes it look easy with that smile, but it isn't.

2020 has been a rollercoaster year for everyone, so what's her advice for people having a hard time?

"Keep your loved ones close. When I'm feeling anxious, the first person I call is my mom or my dad or my sisters. And I would just say, be there for your family, your friends, just support each other and get through this time together and hopefully 2021 is a better year for all of us." - Chloe Kim

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Kim was speaking in an interview with Elle, and her message is upbeat: "Stay positive. We're going to manifest all the right things for 2021."

She may be the youngest woman ever to win Olympic snowboard gold, and yes, she appeared in a Maroon 5 music video, met Jimmy Fallon, and rapped with G-Eazy at the ESPYs, but it hasn't changed Chloe Kim who stays grounded in family and reality.

With the snowboard World Cup season beginning at Copper Mountain from 16-19 December, things will heat up fast with Beijing 2022 on the horizon.

Read on to find out what else this down-to-earth superstar has to say about who inspired her, how she'll rock up at Beijing 2022 just chilling, and her newfound love for hot Cheetos.

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Real world struggles

But fame comes with a price and it's no secret that Kim struggled with the transition to university life.

She even took a year out of snowboard competition to let things calm down, but the challenges were still there.

And she doesn't hesitate when asked which was more difficult out of training for the Olympics or her Freshman year at Princeton.

"Freshman year."

"I've just been snowboarding since I was four and when I came to school, I did all my school online. It was really hard for me to adapt and I still don't think I've fully adapted yet. I've never really sat in a class during the lecture or taken an exam in a classroom with professors standing there. I didn't really know how to take notes in a lecture.

"But I think the hardest part for me was actually meeting people. I was scared because I felt like so many people knew things about me when I didn't know anything about them and it kind of made me a little uneasy. There was a lot of going to the dean's office and being like, 'Hey, I'm struggling right now,' and 'I think someone knows where my room is.'

"'People are taking pictures of me when I'm eating. It's making me really uncomfortable. Can we do something about it?' But after a while it kind of stopped happening.

"I was definitely pretty guarded when I met people for the first couple of weeks, but then I met my friends that I still talk to and I love to death and after that it went really well smoothly."

Torah Bright: Chloe Kim's inspiration

Kim was watching when Torah Bright won halfpipe gold for Australia at Vancouver 2010.

Bright went on to become Australia's most successful ever Winter Olympian, taking silver in the Sochi 2014 halfpipe.

"I grew up idolising Torah Bright," says Kim.

"She was actually one of those athletes that really inspired me to go to the Olympics because I watched her compete in 2006."

A young Kim was in Aspen to see Bright claim silver at the Winter X Games in Colorado in 2006.

A year later, Bright beat Winter Olympic medalists Gretchen Bleiler and Hannah Teter to become the first Australian snowboarder to win an X Games gold medal.

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Chloe Kim dumps pizza

As the reigning Olympic halfpipe champ, has the Tokyo 2020 postponement affected her preparations for the Beijing 2022 Winter Games?

"It hasn't because my Olympics are still on track, but I've definitely changed my training a lot. Before my first Olympics, I didn't really work out, went to CPK all the time, getting pizza, whatever I wanted.

"After the Olympics I went riding again and I fell and I was like, 'That actually really hurt.' You're not 10 anymore where you're a rubber ball and just bounce back up. You can't do that. So I got a trainer and I feel so much stronger and so much more confident on a snowboard.

"But I'm trying not to think about it too much. There's still a lot that happens before and I kind of want to go in with the same approach as I did with the last one: just chilling."

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"I love hot Cheetos"

Pizza and churros fuelled Chloe Kim's first Olympic gold medal, but what snacks is she into now?

"I love hot Cheetos, but they have to be the lime ones," she tells Elle.

"Those have been my addiction lately. I also love gum. I go through 10 packs of gum a week.

"But with the churro thing, the funny thing was, I said I liked it and then I come home and everyone's giving me anything related to churros. I got frozen churros sent to me that you can throw in an oven for 10 minutes and they're ready. I got churro chips, churro everything, and I was like, 'Guys, I don't think I like churros anymore. I don't think that's my thing anymore.'

"But if I can get my hands on hands on some Flaming Hot Cheetos, I'd be down for that."

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Chloe Kim to retain her title at Beijing 2022?

With all the new commitments in her life, will the reigning champ be able to successfully defend her title in China?

Kim will have plenty of challengers like Japan's Ono Mitsuki who followed in Kim's footsteps by winning gold at the Lausanne 2020 Youth Olympics, and there are plenty more established stars and young guns who will bring their best to Beijing.

The World Cup halfpipe season begins at Copper Mountain in mid-December with the competition giving everyone a chance to assess where they are with little more than a year to go before Beijing 2022.

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