We’re a few days into the Winter Olympics, so what’s been your favorite moment so far? Chris Mazdzer winning America’s first medal men’s singles luge? Was it 17-year-old Red Garard oversleeping after binging Brooklyn Nine-Nine on Netflix and then rolling out and winning gold in the slopestyle? Or was it anything that Adam Rippon killing it on the ice, on twitter, and declaring that “There are so many emotions when I step on the ice. I want to represent my country to the best of my abilities. I want to make Reese Witherspoon proud.”
All of those are awesome. But they just got lapped last night by a 17-year-old born in Long Beach and raised in Torrance here in So-Cal. America, meet Chloe Kim. And if you haven’t already met her, there’s really no one like her. A prodigy, who learned to board as a 4-year old in the local mountains here. She made the Olympic team as a 13-year old but by rule was too young to go. And since then, there has been nothing but hype and expectation. And as you know, almost nothing lives up to ridiculous hype and expectation. And she murdered both in ripping the gold. And she couldn’t be any cooler or any more likeable either. But when she straps a board to her feet and drops into the halfpipe, she is a killer. And when she’s on Twitter, she might be even better.
If you’d been paying attention in the buildup, you knew Chloe Kim was coming. That was not a lucky win and this is not an overnight success. The hype was building. Because she’s awesome, both on and off the halfpipe, like with this combo of tweets from earlier in the week: I’m so nervous!!!!!!! Which she then chased with: Oh and I also had 2 churros today and they were pretty bomb so if you ever get nervous go eat a churro
Hell yes. Words to live by. That took the pre-Olympics hype to a new level. Most others in her position are privately gripping, trying to spin the clock to get the day they’ve spent their entire lives dreaming and working for. And Chloe is tweeting about smashing churros.
But as always, so few things live up to the hype. And that hype went to another level when she tweeted between qualifying runs that she “could be down for some ice cream (right now).” When someone replied saying, “aren’t you competing right now” she responded “yes…” And when the NBC Olympics account put up a poll asking what kind of ice cream she should get, she jumped in saying, Cookies & Cream is some good stuff. If anyone can get me some to the village that’d be dope”
That tweet is dope. And what came afterwards in the final was even better than the best Cookies and Cream. Because on her first of three runs, she scored a 93.75 that none of the other 11 finalists could match. That was a legendary run. And then came the legendary tweet.
‘Wish I finished my breakfast sandwich but my stubborn self-decided not to and now I’m getting hangry’
The old rap about twitter was that it was just people tweeting about what they had for breakfast. This is someone tweeting about what they had for breakfast, between runs in the Olympic finals. That is unreal. First off, having her phone with her during the Olympic finals is incredible and then thumbing out that tweet is even better. That would be like LeBron hitting an Instagram post during a timeout and then dropping 50 on the Celtics.
According to the official Twitter data account: When @chloekimsnow dropped into the halfpipe, she had ~15,000 Twitter followers. By the time she finished her run, she had Tweeted about sandwiches and earned a #gold medal & 100,000+ new followers.
And her day only got better because nobody caught her score from the first run; she had the gold medal in the bag before her final run. She could’ve just done the highest-profile heel slide ever and still would’ve been on top of the podium. But instead, she let it rip. And nailed not one, but two 1080s and scored a 98.75. As she said, “I knew that if I went home with a gold medal knowing I could do better, I wasn’t going to be satisfied.”
And that is why she’s a legend. That’s what makes the Olympics special. There’s the combination of people who grind away in anonymity for years in sports that the general public doesn’t really pay attention to, folks for whom just reaching the Olympics is winning a medal, and then there are the breakout stars. Athletes like Chloe Kim who transcend their sport because of their ability and their personality. Put her on a Wheaties box, an ice cream container, and a breakfast sandwich box… why doesn’t she have her own reality show yet. She is a blast and we could all use a little more of a star who’s tweeting about breakfast sandwiches and being hangry in the biggest competition of her life. I think she’s amazing, crazy, killer IT. As always, it’s hard to explain what IT is, but you know when you see IT and she has a crazy amount of IT.