Two-time Olympic Gold Medalist Chloe Kim recently made the announcement that she will be taking a break from snowboarding. She says she wants to use this time off to prioritize her mental health.
This is not the first time Kim has had to step back from the competition scene. In 2019, Kim took a year off of competing to “enjoy life outside of that scene for a year.” At this point in the 17-year-old snowboarder’s career, Kim was already known as the world’s youngest Olympic halfpipe gold medalist.
Kim explained that she felt like such a high level of success at such a young age didn’t allow her to enjoy normal teenage things. Kim took this time off to discover what she liked and who she was outside of snowboarding. She went to college at Princeton, picked up some new hobbies, and came back to the snowboarding scene with newfound positive energy.
Reflecting on this time, Kim said that she’s grateful she had the time to get to know herself better.
“I decided to go to school because I felt like I needed to surround myself with people who had nothing to do with snowboarding. I think I grew a lot as a person and I learned a lot about myself in that moment.” – Chloe Kim, Cheddar News
During Kim’s first hiatus from snowboarding, there was uncertainty if she would ever return. Kim opened up in a recent interview with Cheddar News, sharing that during her first break she began to spiral. She said she had never had so much free time to herself since she started snowboarding at age four. She did not know if she wanted to return to the sport, or if she wanted to pursue a different life path.
This time around is different though, as Kim has made it clear that she plans to compete in the 2026 Olympic games. During her year off, she will be working on herself – motivating herself to win more gold medals in the future. Kim explained that the reason she takes these breaks is to revive the love she has for snowboarding.
She said that it is very hard for her to do the thing she loves most when she does not feel 100% on top of her game.
“I think that a lot of the pressure I feel is mostly from myself and pressure that I put on myself, um you know, as a professional athlete and also as somebody who genuinely loves what they do. I I can’t help but have high expectations for myself, right? Like I want to be the best snowboarder that I possibly be and if I can’t do that, it’s frustrating, like I can’t do it, I can’t stand it. And so I think um it’s been a really great way for me to stay motivated, but I think the minute I lose love for the sport and I simply can’t do it anymore. Because what’s the point?” – Chloe Kim, Cheddar News
This time off will be the mental reset that Kim needs to prepare for another gold medal in 2026. If she does win again, she will become the first woman ever to win three gold medals in snowboarding.