Snowboarding gold medalist Chloe Kim to take mental health break from sport

Olympic star will return in time to compete at the next Winter Games in 2026

Abe Asher
Wednesday 27 April 2022 05:32
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<p>USA's Chloe Kim celebrates as she wins the snowboard women's halfpipe final run during the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games</p>

USA's Chloe Kim celebrates as she wins the snowboard women's halfpipe final run during the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games

After a “draining year,” Olympic gold medalist snowboarder Chloe Kim has announced that she is taking a break from the sport to focus on her mental wellbeing.

Kim is among the sport’s biggest stars, having become the youngest ever woman to win skateboarding gold at the 2018 Winter Olympics when she was just 17 years old. She then defended her title earlier this year at the Games in Beijing.

“(I) just want to kind of reset,” Kim told Cheddar News. “I don’t want to get right back into it after such a fun, but draining year, at the same time, knowing that it was an Olympic year.”

In many ways, it is the right time for the star to step away. She said that she will return to the sport in time to defend her gold medal at the next Winter Games in Italy.

“I just want to enjoy this moment, take it all in and then back to it when I’m feeling ready, but as of now the plan is most definitely to go after a third medal,” Kim, who has been competing in snowboarding since she was just four years old, told Cheddar News.

Like a number of younger athletes, she has been open and straightforward about the mental health challenges she has faced as a top competitor. The Long Beach, California native also stepped away from the sport following the 2018 Games to attend Princeton University and did not suffer for the decision in Beijing.

Tennis star Naomi Osaka and gymnastics star Simone Biles have also stepped away from competition in recent years because of mental health challenges. Michael Phelps, another Olympic champion, has been open about his challenges with mental health in recent years as well.

Kim, whose parents were born in South Korea, has also consistently faced racism as a public figure — particularly in the aftermath of the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic — and been outspoken about the toll it has taken on her as she represents the US.

The next Winter Olympics are scheduled for February 2026 in Milan-Cortina.

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