Olympic snowboarder Chloe Kim announced yesterday that she will not compete this season, choosing instead to prioritize her freshman classes at Princeton. She plans to return next year in time for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.
“It was a really tough decision,” Kim said in a YouTube video, “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, who has been competing at a pro-level since age 12, 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.
Kim became the youngest Olympic halfpipe gold medalist when she was victorious in PyeongChang at age 17. She continued to extend her dominance last season as 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, reports NBC Sports.