Kids These Days
Chloe Kim, the young Tiger of snowboarding, says she’s coming for Tiger Woods on the golf course as well
Chloe Kim is 21 years old. In 2015, she won her first-ever Winter X Games gold medal in SuperPipe at the age 14. In 2016 she won another, becoming the first person under the age of 16 to ever claim multiple gold medals at the winter sports’ Super Bowl. That same winter she also scored a perfect 100 at the U.S. Snowboarding Grand Prix, kaing her the only person on earth not named Shaun White to accomplish the feat. Two years later in Pyeongchang, Kim, now 17, became the youngest Olympic gold medalist in the Women’s halfpipe history, running away with the event by over 10 points. Does this level of youthful dominance remind you of anyone? Like, say, Tiger Woods?
When Woods first landed on tour, there were concerns about his maturity and guile, but he silenced them all, running away with the 1997 Masters by 12 shots. Kim has followed a very similar arc, only on snow. Now she says she’s coming for Woods on grass as well … sort of.
“My boyfriend’s a big golfer, and we kind of started going together,” she told Time in a recent interview. “And I’m kind of, like, talented at it. Like, I don’t know any golfers, but like Tiger Woods needs to watch himself.”
Needless to say, Woods isn’t losing a single second of sleep over this. Moments later, Kim also “declares war” on Serena Williams, which tells you that 98% of this is a joke. Kim knows it too, barely able to keep a straight face when asked how she knows she’s good at these sports. “I know I’m good at these sports," she replies. "Because I am good at these sports.”
That’s the other 2% though. That's where the ridiculous natural talent and levels of confidence bordering on hubris meet. If Kim had picked up a putter or tennis racket at five-years-old instead of a snowboard, there's no question she would have had the raw athletic tools to become elite. Maybe she wouldn't have loved it the same way she loved dropping in on a snowboard—and make no mistake, enjoyment goes a long way when the margins are this fine and the cost so high—but pure ability would not have been the stumbling block.
In the end, though, Tiger and Serena are safe. Their records will stand and their legends will live on. The same can’t be said for Kim's Olympic competition, however.