Svrluga: Ice cream-loving teen or dominant gold medalist? Chloe Kim is both.

PyeongChang current time

BONGPYEONG, South Korea — When she stepped to the top of the platform, slightly higher than her competitors, and an official who helps oversee the sport of snowboarding handed her a stuffed animal, the work behind Chloe Kim’s pursuit poured out. She wasn’t bawling at the base of the Pyeongchang Halfpipe, but there were tears. She put her hand to her eye and wiped across, then turned her back to the crowd and flicked the salty water to the snow. There would be only joy.

“This whole experience,” Kim said, “has been insane.”

That accurately describes the build-up to Kim’s Olympic debut, and the only question was whether she could perform in such circumstances. Now we know. She did it Tuesday morning here under a brilliant blue sky, flipping and spinning her way to a gold medal in the women’s halfpipe snowboard competition that stood as a statement to her artistry, her flair, and her charisma, for sure.

But as you drink in Kim and acknowledge that she accepted and excelled in hype that was equal to any athlete at these Pyeongchang Olympics, please pause to consider her insane athletic ability, badger’s tenacity and flat-out competitiveness. That she combines it with between-run tweets shouldn’t detract from who she is as an athlete and what she accomplished when the lights were brighter than she had ever faced.

“I think I’m always trying to distract myself,” she said, “and think of things in a positive way.”

Kim can easily be reduced to an ice cream-loving teen, because, well, she’s an ice cream-loving teen. And when she tweets between runs about her eating habits, as she did while competing for gold Tuesday — “Wish I finished my breakfast sandwich but my stubborn self decided not to and now I’m getting hangry” — it seem endearing, even …read more

Source:: The Denver Post

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