Chloe Kim Opens Up About Sharing Her Experiences Feeling 'Alienated' as a Korean American Snowboarder

"Being the person to make some change happen is really important to me," the two-time Olympic gold medalist tells PEOPLE of blazing a trail in her sport

IRVINE, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 12: Chloe Kim of Team United States poses for a portrait during the Team USA Beijing 2022 Olympic shoot on September 12, 2021 in Irvine, California. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images for Team USA)
Photo: Tom Pennington/Getty

Chloe Kim has been a trailblazing snowboarder in many ways, though she acknowledges the experience of being a first in her field has at times made her feel "a little alienated."

"I think that it was always difficult to be the outsider in a way," Kim, told PEOPLE, of being the first Korean American medalist in a sport dominated mostly by white athletes. (According to NPR, the lack of diversity in the sports has been on display at this year's Winter Olympics in Beijing, where Team USA has 48 athletes participating in the snowboarding competition, none of whom are Black and only a small fraction of whom are people of color.)

"But honestly, I think in the past few years just being more outspoken about my experiences has opened everyone's eyes, especially around me," continued Kim, who chatted with PEOPLE this week at an event to launch her partnership with Purina Pro Plan.

"Being the person to make some change happen is really important to me, so being able to achieve that in some ways feels good," she affirmed.

Chloe Kim
Chloe Kim. Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Kim has been involved in the sport since she was a teenager. Snowboarding has always been on the top of her priority list growing up, which played a massive role in her success at a very young age. At 17, she won her first gold medal in halfpipe at the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics, which further catapulted her into international stardom.

Earlier this year in Beijing, Kim again shocked the world by defending her title and securing first place in the women's halfpipe for a second consecutive Games.

Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from juicy celebrity news to compelling human interest stories.

Chloe Kim
Patrick Smith/Getty

But being in the spotlight comes with unexpected responsibilities and burdens — including intense pressure that eventually takes a toll on athletes' mental health.

When asked about how she coped with the situation, Kim says, "I just do."

"I've been on a really long mental health journey," she told PEOPLE this week, "so it's been really helpful getting the help I need like seeing a therapist."

She continued, "Being more open and outspoken with my family about everything that's going on in my life has been helpful so then when I got to Beijing I feel like I set myself up for success in the aspect so I was able to handle it pretty well."

Kim also shared that her family is her inspiration to persevere when going through the hardships of being a professional athlete.

"Just knowing that they worked so hard to support me throughout this journey and just really acknowledging that," she said. "Everything I do is for myself but also for them in some ways, so that's important to me."

Purina Pro Plan Partners with Pro Snowboarder Chloe Kim to Launch the Pro Plan Million Mile Challenge Dog owners nationwide are invited to log miles with their dog, in an attempt to reach one million collective miles, unlocking a donation to help dogs in need Explore Pro Plan Sport Formulas ST. LOUIS, April 19, 2022 – Purina Pro Plan is teaming up with professional snowboarder Chloe Kim and her dog Reese to kick off the Pro Plan Million Mile Challenge, a movement encouraging people to get active with their dogs and discover how Pro Plan Sport’s game-changing nutrition fuels dogs’ active lifestyles. Starting April 19, whether it’s running, hiking, or even going for a swim, dog owners nationwide can track miles with their dog on activity logging app Strava and contribute to one million collective miles. Visit the Pro Plan Sport Hub to register now. “As an athlete, I know that my performance starts with the nutrition I put in my body, and the same is true for my dog, Reese,” said Kim. “I’m excited to team up with Pro Plan to launch the Pro Plan Million Mile Challenge because Reese and I love staying active together, and Pro Plan Sport gives her the strength and stamina to conquer any adventure.” As a part of the Million Mile Challenge, Pro Plan Sport is donating up to $100,000 (ten cents for every mile logged between April 19, 2022, and May 17, 2022) to Athletes for Animals, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that connects athletes with a shared passion for animals and focuses its efforts on protecting the welfare of homeless pets nationwide. “We are so excited to shine a light on the incredible bond between people and their active dogs with the Pro Plan Million Mile Challenge,” said Kristen Beckerle, senior brand manager at Purina. “This is the perfect way for dog owners to enjoy outdoor adventures together, contribute to a great cause, and see first-hand how it all starts with the fine-tuned nutrition of Pro Plan Sport.” Chloe Kim and Reese for Purina Pro SportGallery ImagePlay a external video Chloe runningGallery Image ReeseGallery Image Chloe Kim and Reese for Purina Pro SportGallery Image Chloe Kim and Reese for Purina Pro SportGallery Image Formulated for active, athletic dogs, Pro Plan Sport Performance formulas feature an optimized protein-to-fat ratio, real meat as the #1 ingredient, and high-quality nutrition specialized for each life stage; including new formulas for senior dogs and puppies. So, you can feel confident you’re fueling your dog’s best throughout his active, adventurous life. To learn more about Pro Plan Sport, or to sign up for the Pro Plan Million Mile Challenge, visit Help make a difference and get moving today. About Nestlé Purina PetCare Nestlé Purina PetCare creates richer lives for pets and the people who love them. Founded in 1894, Purina has helped dogs and cats live longer, healthier lives by offering scientifically based nutritional innovations. Purina manufactures some of the world's most trusted and popular pet care products, including Purina ONE, Pro Plan, Fancy Feast and Tidy Cats. Our more than 8,700 U.S. associates take pride in our trusted pet food, treat and litter brands that feed 51 million dogs and 65 million cats every year. More than 500 Purina scientists, veterinarians, and pet care experts ensure our commitment to unsurpassed quality and nutrition. Purina Pro Plan is a leader in the advanced nutrition category, with more than 140 targeted formulas to help your pet thrive throughout every stage of life. For more information, visit or follow @ProPlan on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook. Purina promotes responsible pet care through our scientific research, our products and our support for pet-related organizations. Over the past five years, Purina has contributed more than $150 million towards organizations that bring, and keep, people and pets together, as well as those that help our communities and environment thrive. Purina is part of Nestlé, a global leader in Nutrition, Health and Wellness. For more information, visit or subscribe here to get the latest Purina news. About Athletes for Animals Athletes for Animals was founded in 2013 by Kelly and David Backes. Athletes for Animals is a united team of professional athletes with a shared passion for advocating, rescuing and protecting the welfare of homeless pets nationwide. For the last nine years, the organization has successfully partnered with athletes to educate the public about responsible pet ownership, promote pet adoption, raise funds and has distributed just under one million in grant awards to support best practices in animal welfare. The vision is an increased respect for all companion animals, so that we can, "Team Up For Our Greatest Fans!" Media Contacts: Janette Artea / / 214-202-0698 Niky Roberts / / 314-982-3958
Justin Lubke/Purina Pro Plan

Her latest collaboration project with Purina Pro Plan involving her dog Reese, a miniature Australian shepherd, kicked off on April 19. The Pro Plan Million Mile Challenge movement encourages people to get active with their dogs and discover how the brand's nutrition plan can fuel their canine companion's active lifestyles.

Additionally, a donation of up to $100,000 will also be made by Pro Plan Sport to Athletes for Animals — a non-profit organization that focuses on protecting the welfare of homeless pets nationwide.

"Just get out there, get active," Kim told PEOPLE of the program. "And also, maybe get a dog because they're the best."

Related Articles