Chloe Kim smiles at the FIS Snowboard World Championships on Feb. 08, 2019 in Park City, Utah.
Chloe Kim is one of the most recognizable faces in snowboarding, but it isn’t just her Olympic gold medal and consistently dominant performances that have made her a superstar.
Her down-to-earth personality, posts with her pup and Tweets about food are just some of the things that have helped make Kim an influential celebrity and extend her reach far beyond the halfpipe, and she’s still just a teenager.
In honor of Kim’s 19th birthday today, we check out 19 essential facts about the reigning Olympic, world and X Games halfpipe gold medalist.
1. She has a long list of “firsts” and “youngests” to her credit that include becoming the youngest woman to win a gold medal in snowboarding at the Olympic Winter Games at 17, the youngest competitor to win an X Games gold medal at 14, the first athlete to win four X Games gold medals before the age of 18 and the first woman to land back-to-back 1080s.
2. Kim says that five-time Olympian Kelly Clark, who recently retired from competition, is her role model. Clark took Kim under her wing when she was just 8 years old, Kim said, and has been a guiding force in her career ever since.
3 She was featured in the TIME 100 list as one of their pioneers in 2018. David Chang, who founded the Momofuku restaurant group, wrote her entry for the magazine noting her age, South Korean heritage and massive amount of pressure on her shoulders heading into the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018. He also wrote about making her a celebratory churro ice cream sandwich, which she called “bomb.”
4. Kim was also named one of TIME’s 25 most influential teens.
5. Her social media presence grew leaps and bounds during the Olympics thanks in part to her tendency to tweet about ice cream and churros and being “hangry” even while preparing for the biggest competition of her life. Going into the Olympics she had about 20,000 Twitter followers. That number is now 304,000. Her Instagram follower count is over 700K.
6. Based on her scores, Kim was probably good enough to make the 2014 U.S. Olympic Team, and she might have even been the favorite to win a gold medal. Alas, she didn’t reach the age cutoff. As a consolation of sorts, she did qualify for the Winter Youth Olympic Games Lillehammer 2016 in Norway, where she won both the halfpipe and slopestyle gold medals.
7. In late March, Kim posted on Twitter that she bought a tadpole and named him Franklin. No word yet on whether Franklin will have his own social media presence like Kim’s miniature Australian Shepherd, Reese. Kim posed with Reese and her gold medal — which Reese wore — for the cover of Sports Illustrated.
8. Although she could teach a masters class in halfpipe, Kim hopes to be just a regular old college freshman when she starts at Princeton this fall, joining the class of 2023 after deferring a year. She still plans to keep riding while she’s in school and continuing to hone her skills in preparation for the 2022 Winter Games.
9. Kim has already said, however, that her next Olympics will likely be her last. In a story in the New York Times she was quoted as saying that it would be cool to go to three Olympics, but she thinks that by the time she’s 26 her body will be falling apart and that she also has other things she wants to do in life. “I want to be a lawyer, I want to be a scientist, a doctor, all of these crazy things I want to try,” Kim told the paper.
10. Barbie honored Kim’s achievement at the Olympics by making a doll that looks like her as part of their “Sheroes” series in celebration of the company’s 60th anniversary and International Women’s Day. Under the description on the website it reads, “Chloe is constantly pushing the sport of snowboarding to new levels, showing girls everywhere the impressive heights they can reach.” Other women honored with dolls in the collection include athletes, dancers, entrepreneurs, filmmakers and chefs from all over the world.
11. She also was featured on the Gold Medal Edition Kellogg’s Corn Flakes cereal box after becoming Olympic champion.
12. Kim won the 2018 ESPY for best female athlete. She also was named Best Female Olympian and Best Female Action Sports Athlete.
13. Kim is a Southern California girl through and through, but it probably didn’t hurt her snowboarding career that she lived in Switzerland during third and fourth grade. However, her parents said she actually went there to learn French, rather than to snowboard.
14. Speaking of which, Kim indeed does speak fluent French, in addition to Korean (and English).
15. Kim is one of a number of inspirational women featured in Nike’s “Dream Crazier” ad, along with fellow Olympic champions Serena Williams and Simone Biles, that first aired during the 2019 Academy Awards broadcast.
16. Along with gymnast Aly Raisman and soccer player Alex Morgan, Kim also appeared in Maroon 5’s music video for “Girls Like You” featuring Cardi B.
17. Cardi B is among the artists Kim said were included on her Olympics playlist. She listened to “MotorSport” by Migos, Cardi B and Nicki Minaj during her third run, and Lady Gaga’s “Paparazzi” was playing during her first.
18. Last year, the Torrance, California, native threw out the first pitch at a Los Angeles Dodgers game during their 2018 season-opening series against the San Francisco Giants.
19. She always knocks on the top of her board before a run to “unjinx” herself. She told reporters before the Olympics that the number of times she knocks depends on how nervous she is.