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Why Chloe Kim Had The Best 2018

By Chrös McDougall | Dec. 31, 2018, 12:01 a.m. (ET)

Chloe Kim warms up prior to the women's halfpipe final at the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 on Feb. 13, 2018 in PyeongChang, South Korea.  


Chloe Kim was already having a pretty good day on Feb. 13.

She’d already put down the best score in the halfpipe snowboarding final at the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018. She’d already tweeted about her breakfast between runs. And then, before her third and final run — aka her victory lap, since she’d already secured the gold medal — Kim learned she had a special guest waiting for her at the bottom

Her grandma, who lives in South Korea, was there to see Kim compete live for the first time.

“This one’s for you, Grams,” Kim said to herself, as she slid down the hill to make her final run the one fans would never forget.

And she didn't disappoint. On her second and third hits, Kim dropped her signature back-to-back 1080s, marking the first time any woman had done that in the Olympics, to boost her already-winning score from of 93.75 to 98.25.

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At 17, Kim had become the youngest women’s snowboarding gold medalist in Olympic history, but by then her star had already begun to explode.

Coming into the Olympic year as one of the most hyped names to watch, Kim was already one of the biggest stars in the sport thanks to her unique body control and ability to get huge air. By the time she wrapped herself in an American flag as Olympic champ, the Korean American starlet from Southern California was a huge star everywhere.

Kim’s social media following had skyrocketed from around 10,000 Twitter followers before the Games to more than 200,000, with fans coming for the otherworldly snowboarding skills and staying for her fun-loving personality.

Kim, needless to say, had fun throughout the Olympics, and fans across the United States jumped on board to have fun with her.

Upon returning home, the fun continued for Kim, bouncing from Jimmy Fallon and James Cordon’s shows to the ESPYs  — where she won three awards, including for Best Female Athlete — and picking up more honors along the way, including her face on the Corn Flakes box, a Sports Illustrated cover (with her dog, a miniature Australian shepherd named Reese) and even a special Barbie doll in her likeness released as part of a series about inspiring women. It’s never bad to be in the same company as Amelia Earhart, right? Of course, Time magazine couldn’t get enough of Kim, either, naming her both to its 100 most influential people list, and then to its 25 most influential teens list.

And it’s not like she peaked at the Olympics. Kim, who turned 18 in April, returned to international competition in December, winning a world cup halfpipe event and then claiming a modified superpipe title at a Dew Tour stop, both in Colorado.

So if 2018 is any indication, the coming years might be just as bright for Chloe Kim.

Chrös McDougall has covered the Olympic movement for TeamUSA.org since 2009 on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc. He is based in Minneapolis-St. Paul.

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