PYEONGCHANG, South Korea (Reuters) - Chloe Kim became the youngest female snowboarder to win an Olympic gold medal as she dominated the women’s halfpipe on Tuesday, yet if it was not for her father’s sacrifice when she was seven it could have been a whole different story.
Her father, Kim Jong-jin, who had encouraged her to get on a snowboard aged four, gave up his job as an engineer three years later to focus on his daughter’s budding sporting career.
Chloe has long-praised her father, who was in attendance alongside Chloe’s mother and grandmother at Phoenix Snow Park to watch her win gold with a near-perfect score of 98.25.
“My dad has definitely sacrificed a lot for me and I don’t know if I could do it, if I was in his shoes,” Chloe told reporters. “Leaving your life behind and chasing this dream because your kid is passionate about this sport.
“I think today I did it for my family and I am so grateful to them.”
Her father, who stood at the back of the media conference with a huge smile across his face, did not cry Chloe said, which had surprised her.
“I hate talking about my dad when he is here because he gets really cocky,” the 17-year-old laughed.
“I am going to be hearing it for three more years: remember when you talked about me in your press conference?”
Kim senior, who said he was lucky enough to be financially secure before he quit work, was happy to tell reporters about his daughter’s story but like any parent he was intensely nervous before the competition started.
“I was nervous before the first run because, even though everyone talks about Chloe all the time, nobody knows the result; maybe she will fall three times,” he said.
“After she landed the first run I could then just enjoy the rest of the day.”
Editing by Greg Stutchbury