Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Chloe Kim Steals the Spotlight (VIDEO)

She's a good young lady.

At LAT, "Gold-medal winner Chloe Kim, a daughter of Korean immigrants, is a star in two cultures":

Shortly after winning gold in the Olympic halfpipe, Chloe Kim was ushered into a tent at the bottom of the hill to face a clutch of international reporters.

The 5-foot-3 Southern California snowboarder had delivered a stunning performance, doing tricks no other woman in her sport could do, but that wasn't the only reason she has become the breakout star of the 2018 Winter Games.

When a reporter asked a question in Korean, the 17-year-old quickly waved off the interpreter, saying: "I've got that."

Kim is a first-generation Korean American, the daughter of immigrants who settled in the greater Los Angeles area. She speaks both languages and, throughout her life, has made visits to family in this country.

That helps explain why her face has been splashed across local newspapers and television this week.

"It's so cool being here," she said. "Competing in my first Olympics in the country where my parents came from is insane."

This aspect of her Olympic experience has not only boosted her celebrity, it seems to have touched her in a personal way that extends beyond sport, perhaps helping her to reconcile a childhood spent straddling two cultures.

Kim said: "I definitely, when I was younger, struggled a little to understand my identity and who I wanted to be."

Not all the attention here has focused on her, not in a part of the world that has a reputation for producing, among other things, top-notch short-track speedskaters.

It was a big deal when Lim Hyo-jun earned the host nation's first gold medal in a 1,500-meter race last Saturday. But Kim quickly stole the spotlight with a historic performance at Phoenix Snow Park three days later.

In capturing gold, she became the first woman in Olympic history to land consecutive 1080s — two triple rotations. Her near-perfect score of 98.25 outdistanced silver medalist Liu Jiayu of China by almost 10 points.

"I feel like I got to represent both the U.S. and Korea today," she said.

The feeling, apparently, was mutual.

"The media has given her very glowing coverage because they see her as one of their own," said Peter Kim, a New Jersey native who works as an assistant English professor at Kookmin University in Seoul.

In particular, it seems that people here have responded to reports that her father, trained as an engineer, gave up his career to focus on Chloe and her snowboarding...
When she won the Gold, her dad reportedly said "this makes all the sacrifice worth it."