“Everyone was kind of staring at me, taking pictures,” Kim lately informed CNN’s Don Riddell. “It was kind of a struggle for me. I just felt like I was never going to be able to adapt and stay because I just felt like everyone was watching me and knew who I was, when I didn’t know anyone.”
If figuring life out at 19 might be daunting, it is equally bold to attain the top of your sport and put it apart to pursue an Ivy League training.
Kim says she was delighted to obtain her acceptance letter from her “dream school” and the preliminary trappings of fame quickly wore off as she settled into scholar life.
“I thought it was going to be challenging to make friends because of that,” Kim acknowledged as she mirrored on the transition to Princeton.
“But I honestly met some amazing people. And it’s funny because a lot of my best friends from school had no idea who I was.”
‘Present and future of girls’s snowboarding’
“It changed my life quite a bit,” Kim admits. “I don’t think I expected like so many people to watch, so many people to know or care afterwards; but they did, which was really, really funny for me.
“I sort of simply anticipated to go there and compete after which simply come again and return to my regular on a regular basis life. But that wasn’t the case.”
“It’s so humorous as a result of I’ll be strolling someplace and there is like somebody … ‘Oh my gosh, are you that snowboarder?’ says Kim. “I was at the grocery store yesterday and they’re like, ‘Oh, my God, is that you?’
“It’s simply humorous, you know, as a result of I by no means anticipated that to occur from snowboarding.”
Her greatest followers
When she next visited her parents’ house, Kim found they had bought the boxes of cereal in bulk.
“I’m fairly positive they purchased about 40 of them,” Kim says. “Because they had been like, that is one of the best present to anybody!”
Her mother and father, in accordance to Kim, are her greatest followers.
“My dad gave up a lot,” says the 20-year-old Kim. “He got here with so little and he sacrificed the whole lot for me to assist me pursue this dream of mine.
“If things didn’t go well, I might have not been able to continue snowboarding after I was 13 because it was straight up just too expensive for us because we’re competing in like Aspen and Vail, Colorado and Switzerland; like we’re doing all these trips and it’s expensive.
“My mother and father put the whole lot into me and my profession, I assume, and it labored out, and I’m so grateful every single day.”
‘Never give up’
That parental support and sacrifice perhaps helps explains why Kim is so driven to be the best in everything she does.
“It’s taught me that if you imagine in one thing, then to by no means quit. I used to be like seven years outdated after I began competing in snowboarding, rookie occasions and stuff, and the actual fact that they noticed that and believed in me and believed that I may grow to be like an Olympian at some point is simply insane.
“The fact that I did it when I was 17 is just even crazier.
“There had been a whole lot of struggles alongside the best way, too,” she added. “There was a whole lot of stress. And so I simply suppose, like though instances get robust, tough generally, [it’s important] to preserve going, to preserve pushing.
“And they’ve also taught me that, like, when I have kids of my own one day to just support them in whatever they’re passionate about because I love snowboarding and then this happened.”
Schools out for snowboarding
Looking forward to the Winter Olympics in Beijing subsequent yr, scholar life is on maintain as Kim lately returned to the game she loves, successful her fifth X Games title in January.
Her focus is on “getting back in snowboarding shape,” and apart from suppressing her yearning for sweets, it is a welcome change for somebody who, fairly noticeably likes to preserve busy.
“I’m so, so happy and grateful that I’ve been able to come back and compete again against all of these amazing, talented, hardworking women,” mentioned Kim. “It was nice to kind of get out and start competing again.”
Kim admits that it is a demanding schedule within the countdown to the video games and mixing it with Princeton was not going to assist her possibilities of success.
“I got a leave of absence,” she mentioned. “There’s no way I can handle going to school while being a professional snowboarder, especially before the Olympics.
“I plan on going again, however proper now, I’m a full-time snowboarder and at some point I’ll be again to being a full-time scholar. But, yeah, I do not suppose I can juggle it.”
Asked whether she believes the Summer Olympics in Tokyo and the Winter Olympics in Beijing will go ahead, Kim is staying positive, having emerged from lockdown to compete in recent events made safe by strict protocols.
“It’s each individual’s duty to be protected,” she emphasizes. “And I feel all of the athletes, particularly on the Olympics, might be very respectful and conscious of that.
“They have to be responsible for their own actions, and, you know, if someone gets it, then they go home, and I don’t think any athlete wants to risk that at the Olympics. You wait four years to be there.
“So I actually suppose it is going to be ready to occur very easily, truthfully.”
It’s a small price to pay, says Kim, as the joy of the games and the opportunity for athletes to compete after years of hard work is worth putting up with any extra restrictions.
“I feel everybody might be so blissful and grateful that the Olympics had been ready to occur within the first place. So what if individuals cannot shout or scream or clap or hug or excessive 5 or no matter. So be it.
“We’re able to compete at the Olympics, we’re able to have an Olympics, and I know for a fact that none of those athletes want to wait another four years just because they couldn’t high five or clap or whatever.
“So I feel that, you know, they’re there to compete on the Olympics, symbolize their nations and help one another, and if you have to do that from a distance, then that’s high quality. You really feel the love. Everyone’s going by it.”