Chloe Kim is sitting out the upcoming snowboard season to “be a kid for once.”
Kim shared the news in a YouTube video on Thursday, reiterating that she’ll be back on the slopes soon and in no way is this a retirement announcement for the 19-year-old.
“This isn’t an ‘oh my gosh, I’m retiring’ video. No, no, no,” Kim said. “I definitely plan on going back to it this following season. I don’t want anyone to think I’m about to retire or anything like that. That’s not it. I just need some Chloe time. I need to be a human. I need to be a kid for once because I haven’t been able to do that my whole life.”
Kim broke onto the national snowboarding scene in the mid-2010s and cemented her status at the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympic Games. She became the youngest woman to win gold in the halfpipe, surpassing Kelly Clark, and had the first back-to-back 1080s. Later that year she was the first woman to land a frontside double cork 1080, doing it in training in Switzerland.
Kim said her time away from the sport is something she’s “known for a really long time,” and it’s been referenced in stories recently. She began her freshman year at Princeton this autumn, a dream she’s had since she was little, and thinks it will help her come back even more motivated. Last winter she said she would major in something science based.
“It was a really tough decision for me to make because I love snowboarding and I love competing, but I’ve been doing it for my whole life pretty much,” Kim said. “I’ve been competing at a pro level since I was 12 and I’m 19 now, so that’s a big chunk of my life.
“I wanted to explore life outside of that scene for a year.”
Kim first hit the slopes with her father at age 4 and joined a team at age 6. She trained in Switzerland and then back home again in California before turning professional at 12 and joining Team USA in 2013. She said on her YouTube video she hasn’t been in a classroom since she was in seventh grade, when she started homeschooling to traverse the world for competition.
“It made me a little nervous thinking my life is 100-percent snowboarding,” she said.
Kim, a four-time X-Games gold medalist, broke her ankle at the Burton U.S. Open in March after a simple fall and needed surgery. She said it made her think her body is tired from constant snowboarding and she should take a break. Most athletes take time after the Olympics, but Kim never stopped.
“I want to be in good health for the next Olympics as well as for the rest of my life, so I think this was a good decision,” she said.
Kim said she’ll still be snowboarding in her down time with family and friends, but she wants it to be a “stress-free season” without constant competitions. She said she plans on returning to training in late May or early June.
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