Snowboarder Chloe Kim is taking the next season to focus on her mental health.
Kim, 22, has been open about her mental health struggles in the past, and previously took the season after her 2018 Winter Olympic win off to focus on her own self-care. Earlier this year, the star athlete took home a gold medal in the halfpipe event at the Winter Olympics.
Chloe Kim Is Taking A Break From Competing To Focus On Her Mental Heath
The two-time gold-medal-winning Olympian told Cheddar News that she is looking to take some time off from competing.
She explained that she is looking “to reset,” saying that she doesn’t “Want to get back into it after such a fun but draining year at the same time.”
The last time she took an extended break, she headed to Princeton University to study anthropology. Kim said that attending the Ivy League school was “refreshing,” she appreciated spending time around people who weren’t pro-athletes.
“It was nice to know I can make friends with people that weren’t snowboarders or in the industry,” she explained. “It’s just nice to have that separation and to get away from the thought of working.”
However, the three-time ESPY award winner doesn’t plan to be gone for long. She says that she will return for the 2026 Games in Italy. “I just want to enjoy this moment, take it all in, and then get back to it when I feel like I’m ready,” Kim explained. “As of now, the plan is most definitely to go after a third medal.”
In addition to her two gold Olympic medals, she is also a six-time X Games gold medalist and is the first athlete to win the championship in all four major events: World, Olympic, Youth Olympic, and X Games.
Chloe Kim Has Never Shied Away From Discussing The Importance Of Mental Health
Chloe Kim is the daughter of two South Korean immigrants. Originally, she was too young to compete in the 2014 Sochi Olympics although her scores made her eligible for competition. At only 17 years old, she made her big debut at the 2018 Olympic Games and took home the gold in her first competition. She is the youngest woman to win an Olympic snowboard gold medal since the sport was introduced in 1998.
Kim talked about what it was like to face the pressure of international fame at only 17 years old with Savannah Guthrie from TODAY. Kim explained that she felt the need to be “always on, always excited” until it got to the point where “my cheeks were hurting so bad from faking smiling,” she recalled.
When she got home from the Games, she was flooded by fans even when she was trying to visit her favorite bakery. “It makes you angry,” she said in a 2018 interview with TIME. “I just wanted a day where I was left alone. And it’s impossible.”
“I appreciate that everyone loves and supports me, but I just wish people could understand what I was going through up to that point,” she continued. “Everyone was like, ‘I just met her, and she’s such a b—-.’ I’m not a b—-. I just had the most exhausting two months of my life, and the minute I get home I’m getting hassled.”
Kim decided to take a break from competing and enroll at Princeton University. Although she was again mobbed by fans during the first week of classes, she eventually was able to settle in and hit the reset on her life. However, when the campus went into lockdown in March 2020 during the COVID-19 lockdown, Kim began seeing a therapist.
“Just being able to let those things out that you just tuck in your little secret part of your heart helps a lot,” Kim said. “I feel much more at peace now.”