“I met Kelly when I was 8 years old and she just took me under her wing after that, and she was always so helpful, always gave me tips,” said Kim, 17, of the 34-year-old Clark, who has medaled in three of the previous four Winter Games. “If I was struggling to learn a trick, she’d always help me out and give me some advice.”
The two first met in 2009 at Mammoth Mountain Resort, in California, when Kim recognized Clark ahead of her in line at the lift. “I was just like, ‘I don’t know what to do,’ ” Kim has said.
“Fan-girling out,” she asked, “Are you Kelly Clark?”
It was a moment, Clark herself has recalled, that was “pretty cute”: “She tugged on my sleeve and asked to go up the lift with me.”
Speaking to PEOPLE Now in her Tuesday appearance, Kim said their rapport extends off the snow as well.
“Even if it was not related to snowboarding, I know I can just give her a call and kind of rant for a bit and I’ll be good,” she said.
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And as athletes at the top of their sport, Kim said Clark has been a key sounding-board:
“She understands because she’s been through it. I think Kelly was also in this position where she went to the Olympics at a young age, so it’s just nice to have a peer that knows what you’re talking about.”
The 2018 Winter Olympics will air live starting Feb. 8. To learn more, visit teamusa.org.