Chloe Kim will not compete this snowboard season to focus on freshman classes at Princeton but plans to return next year and go for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.
“It was a really tough decision,” Kim said in a YouTube video, noting she had been competing at a pro level since age 12. “I do not hate competing whatsoever. I love it so much, but at the same time, I wanted to kind of explore life outside of that scene for a year. … Competing is really, really stressful.
“I need some Chloe time. I need to be a human. I need to be a normal kid for once because I haven’t been able to do that my whole life.”
Kim, 19, announced a month after the Olympics that she was accepted to Princeton but deferred enrollment until this year. She was expected to juggle competing this Olympic cycle with classes.
“I want to be in good health for the next Olympics as well as for the rest of my life, so I think this was a good decision,” said Kim, who is in a classroom setting for the first time since seventh grade, after which she was home-schooled. “A lot of people, after the Olympics, they do take a year off from competing, and I didn’t do that last year.”
Kim, who in PyeongChang became the youngest Olympic halfpipe gold medalist, extended her dominance last season. She swept the Dew Tour, X Games and world championships before breaking her ankle in a minor fall and taking second at the season-ending Burton U.S. Open.
“When you kind of get stuck in the same routine, over and over and over again, year after year after year, it gets pretty hard,” she said. “I felt like I lost a part of myself in a sense where I didn’t feel like I had an actual life outside of snowboarding. Which is completely fine, because I love snowboarding so much and it is my life, but it made me a little nervous thinking that my life was 100 percent snowboarding, and, after the Olympics last year, I took my ACTs, SATs, studied and I did pretty well and I got into my dream school.”
In Kim’s absence, the top halfpipe rider may be PyeongChang Olympic teammate Maddie Mastro, who earned bronze at worlds then won the U.S. Open last season.
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