Chloe Kim's Korean-American Dad Calls Her His 'American Dream' as Teen Chases Olympic Gold
The 17-year-old snowboarder is poised to win gold Tuesday night (Monday night stateside) in the women's halfpipe final
“I feel like I can represent both countries in a way because I have a Korea face, but I was born and raised in the States,” Kim, 17, joked in an interview with TODAY‘s Hoda Kotb.
Kim, who won’t turn 18 until two months after the Olympics, has dominated the women’s half-pipe in recent years, with back-to-back medals at the X Games every year since 2014. The PyeongChang games is the second time she’s qualified for an Olympics, but Kim could not compete in Sochi because she was too young (only 13 years old at the time).
“We — an immigrant like me —we always say, ‘the American dream,’ ” her Korean-American father, Jong Jin, said, agreeing with Kotb that Kim is his American dream.
The athlete, who has been snowboarding since she was 4, dominated the women’s half-pipe qualifier overnight, earning the top spot, and she’s poised to take home the gold at the event that airs Monday evening in primetime on NBC (which will be Tuesday morning in South Korea).
Kim’s father emigrated to California from the Asian country in 1982, The New York Times reports. The teen previously told PEOPLE that her parents are excited to visit their home country for such a special occasion.
“A lot of my relatives over there have never really seen me compete before, so I think it’s going to be pretty cool for everyone,” she said. “It’s really exciting, my whole family is really excited about it, so that gets me even more stoked!”
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On Sunday, Kim’s mother, Boran, shared a photo of the patriotic nail art she’s wearing in support of her daughter: an American flag on her left forefinger and a Korean flag on her right, a nod to the teen’s dual heritage.
“Ready to watch Chloe NAIL it! :)” Boran wrote in the caption, prompting Chloe to write in the comment section: “my mama is the cutest!”
Although Kim is poised to win gold in the ladies’ half-pipe Monday night, she couldn’t shake the pre-competition jitters, tweeting over the weekend, “I’m so nervous!!”
Kim later tweeted about having a snack to quell her nerves: “Oh and I also had 2 churros today and they were pretty bomb so if you ever get nervous go eat a churro.”
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It seems the nervous hunger hadn’t subsided on Monday, when she tweeted about craving ice cream from the top of a snowy mountain before going on to post a score of 95.50 in her second run of the day, per TIME.
“Could be down for some ice cream rn,” she wrote.
The 2018 Winter Olympics are airing live on NBC. To learn more, visit teamusa.org.