Snowboarding Prodigy at Age 14

By Ellen Chlumecky

In the sports world, snowboarding is almost synonymous with Shaun White, the two time- Olympic gold medalist for snowboarding. He currently holds the X-Games records for gold medals and highest overall medal count. He holds a long rap sheet of accomplishments in the snowboarding world. However, he might have some competition at the top of that 1st place podium. That person is a 14-year old girl named Chloe Kim.

To begin Chloe’s rap sheet: she threw her first back flip off a natural feature at age six. Five years later she was able to land a one and a half spins upside down, launched while riding backward. This led the elite Burton Snowboards to sponsor her. Last winter, she became the youngest World Snowboard Tour overall champion in the world. It was then people really started to notice her talent, showmanship, and her ability to go big or go home. Most recently, Chloe received a silver at this month’s X Games Aspen. She was not completely satisfied with this placement and is looking to improve.

So where has this girl been? She’s been snowboarding at a competitive level at the age of six. She has placed in the top three in the majority of her junior competitions in the last two years and has wins and podiums at Burton’s prestigious events and grass-roots USASA Nationals, but she has seemingly flew under the radar.

Her counterparts, Kelly Clark and Kaitlyn Farrington, also very rarely receive any media attention. All three of these ladies are phenomenal athletes. Where is their air time and their news stories? Most sports are heavily dominated by men. That is something that is no surprise. However, these young women are amazing athletes. They are also so young as well. The fact that they are doing tricks at the same level that men who are twice as old as them is pretty crazy.

Yet, these men are always receiving more media attention, more sponsorship offers, and more opportunities to grow in the sport. I hate to sound like a broken record, but where is the love for the women? Chloe Kim in particular is an athlete that has broken through so many different barriers as a young woman and should not be restricted from the same opportunities as Shaun White because she’s a girl.

I am not saying that anyone in particular is hindering her from snowboarding or signing a sponsorship with her but being a girl is a double-edged sword in the world of sports. Chloe Kim has a world of opportunities in front of her. I hope that she will receive the media attention she deserves because if she continues the way she’s going, she’s going to show Shaun White and the rest of the snowboarding world that girls can do anything.

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