Chloe Kim Wins Gold in Beijing

Nathan Chen is golden as “Rocket Man”

Snowboarder Chloe Kim

Selina Tang and Mustang Staff

Olympic champion Chloe Kim returned to the Winter Olympics on February 4, winning gold in the half-pipe, representing her country and adding to her three gold medals in snowboarding. At the Mountain Dew tour preliminaries on December 19, Kim earned a 96 score to win the contest and secure her position on the US Olympic team. A gutsy frontside 1080 tailgrab, switch frontside 900, into a Cab 1080 frontside 540 sealed the deal at the judges’ table. Local athletes on the US snowboarding team half-pipe joining Kim in Beijing are Shaun White (Carlsbad), Toby Miller (LA), Sonora Alba (San Pedro), and Maddie Mastro (Wrightwood).

After her success in PyeongChang in 2018, Kim enrolled at Princeton University. She suffered a severe snowboarding injury and did not snowboard for almost two years. At Princeton she was concerned about students who were only interested in her for her celebrity status. “I didn’t want to be friends with people that just wanted to be famous by association,” said Kim to ESPN reporter Charlotte Gibson. “Snowboarding kind of was the only consistent thing in my life. I feel like that was the only thing that felt safe for me because it was always there for me… I want people to know that you should just do whatever you want to do… Life’s short. So go on a road trip, go on an adventure, do something fun.”

Athletes like Kim have the support of the US government, but the Biden Administration will join Canada, Great Britain, and Australia in a “diplomatic boycott” of the 2022 Olympics in Beijing, citing the human rights record of China. White House press secretary Jen Psaki specifically called attention to “the PRC’s [People’s Republic of China] egregious … abuses and atrocities in Xinjiang.” In January 2021 Secretary of State Antony Blinken stated that China was committing genocide against the Uighur people (CBS News).

South China Morning Post (Jun Mai)

Russian president Vladimir Putin said that he will attend the opening ceremony in Beijing. Meanwhile the US and other nations engaged in the diplomatic boycott will not send any delegates to the Games.

China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said, “The U.S. will pay a price for its practices,” but did not clarify what this meant, reports Tom Hamilton of ESPN.

In 1980 the US participated in a complete boycott of the Olympic Games in Moscow in response to the Soviet-Afghan war. American athletes were prohibited from participating in the event. In 1956 China chose to completely boycott the Olympics because Taiwan was set to compete. China also boycotted the Olympics in 1964 due to disagreements with the IOC.

Fellow Team USA Olympic athlete figure skater, Nathan Chen, who trains in Irvine – California, also shared accolades with a stunning golden victory in the men’s single skate competition.

Nathan Chen finds redemption with gold on the ice after a disappointing effort in PyeongChang (Japan Times)