Olympian Chloe Kim Says Taking Care of Yourself Is ‘as Daring and Disruptive as It Gets’

At 22, Chloe Kim is the first—and only!—woman to win multiple Olympic gold medals in the snowboarding halfpipe. While that is a huge accomplishment, Kim also made an impact off the slopes when she announced she was taking the 2022–2023 season off to prioritize her mental health after a draining year.  

For showing the world it’s okay to set boundaries, Kim was honored with the Daring to Disrupt Award at the Glamour Women of the Year ceremony on Tuesday, November 1. Olympian Sunisa Lee was on hand to present Kim with her award. “Chloe can tell you: Your life changes overnight when you win a gold medal,” Lee told the crowd. “It feels amazing to realize a dream you’ve had since you were a little kid, especially when you’ve worked so hard to achieve it. But the Olympics themselves are intense! You’re far from the comforts of your home pushing your body and mind to the max, with the global spotlight shining on you. And then everyone in the world has something to say on social media—and as we all know, their words aren’t always kind.”

She continued, “Chloe understands that experience like no one else. Just 17 when she won her first gold medal, 21 for her second, a slew of awards in between, along with some quality time at Princeton and killing it on The Masked Singer…Chloe bravely spoke out about the hate crimes AAPI people have faced since the start of the pandemic. But the biggest influence she’s had on me has been her positivity, and modeling true self-care. For Chloe, and a growing number of female athletes, that means time off from training, and time away from social media and naysayers who undercut your motivation and undermine your goals. I wouldn’t be who I am today without Chloe’s courageous example.”

When Kim took the stage, she hugged Lee and grinned, admitting she was nervous to speak in front of “all these incredible people.” Below, read every word of Chloe Kim’s speech in full:

When I think about “Daring to Disrupt,” I immediately go to breaking barriers. I broke a huge one for myself this year. And it wasn’t breaking a record or landing a trick. It had nothing to do with any of those things. I gave myself a break. It should be intuitive, but for high-achieving women, taking care of yourself is about as daring and disruptive as it gets. You know? Putting my mental and physical health first has been so beneficial for me. And I wish I had realized that sooner, honestly. I bought my first home, I’m finally getting to spend some good quality time with friends and family, I’m healing this body of mine, and I’m giving myself the opportunity to love snowboarding again.

And I couldn’t have done it without the support of my sponsors, my friends and my family, and especially my mom, Boran, who is such a force in my life. She’s the glue that holds my family and my sanity together, and I feel like I don’t talk about my mom enough, because truly I wouldn’t be here without her. She’s the first person I call when something happens.

So you know, while my dad and I were on the road, she was at home working, caring for my two sisters, and giving me comfort from thousands of miles away. And she puts my worries in perspective, and helps me feel more present and grateful for everything. She also keeps me connected to the power of my Korean heritage, which is integral to the way I view the world. I remember whenever I’d go somewhere she’d make me a massive batch of my favorite Korean soup called miyeokguk. It’s seaweed soup, and I loved it so much, and she would always make a bunch of it for me before I went on a trip. I remember I would always get to bring a little piece of her with me wherever I went. I’m so blessed to have this incredible person as my mother, and more importantly, my best friend. 

The truth is: You only have one life, and you need to find achievement and gratification that is meaningful to you. Speed and precision are excellent for winning medals, but not so important when it comes to living your life to the fullest. Which is something that I’ve realized very differently. And now that I’ve given myself the gifts of time and exploration, I am so motivated to keep going and doing what I love to do. So I encourage all of you to do the same. Keep breaking barriers, especially the ones we put in front of ourselves. Thank you guys so much.

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