Chloe Kim's Dad Cheered Her On With A Homemade Laminated Sign And Twitter Can't Even
Sometimes, a bit of authenticity can go a long way. That was the case on Monday evening, when during the women's snowboarding halfpipe final, Chloe Kim's father sported a homemade sign, professing proudly, "Go Chloe!"
The record-holding Olympian was just heading into her first trip down the halfpipe when cameras zoomed in on her father, standing on the sidelines. Apparently very excited for his daughter, he enthusiastically waved a self-made, laminated poster that immediately caught the attention of viewers around the world.
Kim and her father, Jong-Jin, first received attention for their close, supportive relationship when they were featured in an emotional Super Bowl ad campaign less than a week before the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Games were slated to begin.
Having already captured the hearts of fans in an orchestrated video clip, the father-daughter duo brought that affinity into real time on Monday evening. And Jong-Jin's enthusiasm was not for naught. In her first of three chances to go down the course, Kim slid safely into first place, leading by a significant margin.
Kim has been a favorite for gold in the halfpipe competition. While PyeongChang is her first Olympic competition, she actually qualified for them four years ago, in Sochi, but at 13 years old, she was too young to register.
Kim, however, says she's glad she had to wait. "Now that I think about it, I'm really glad I wasn't able to go," Kim told NBC Olympics in 2017. "I don't think I would've been able to take it, to handle the pressure. Emotionally I don't think I was ready."
There's obviously such a huge difference between 13 and 17. Like, when I was 13, what did I do? Get my nails done and do maybe two or three contests a year. I feel like a lot's changed. And I didn't have much experience when it came to a lot of media pressure and sponsors, all that stuff. But now I kind of know, I've kind of been through it all. So I think I'll be a little more prepared for things.
But even at the young age of 13, Kim was considered one of the best halfpipe aficionados currently competing. And by the age of 15, she became the first woman to ever land two consecutive 1080s, at the US Snowboarding Grand Prix in February of 2016. She earned a perfect 100 for her show. The only other person to ever score perfectly was Shaun White, who did so at the 2012 X-Games.
Notably, the first woman to land a 1080 was Kelly Clark, who is also competing in PyeongChang on Team U.S.A. Kim is often characterized as a protege to Clark, and has previously remarked that she idolized the iconic snowboarder, who is currently twice her age, as a child.
It's no secret that Kim probably wouldn't be where she is now without the support of her parents. Before she was even ten years old, her father quit his engineering job in order to help support Kim's burgeoning career. Reflecting on that decision as a near-adult, Kim told The Washington Post that she didn't completely understand what was happening at the time.
"Obviously, when I was 8, I had no idea what he was doing," Kim told The Post. "It was, like, 'Why is Dad home more?' You know? But now that I think about it, you know, I feel like it was a really bold move, and I can’t believe my mom was okay with it."
The ad, if you haven't seen it already, parlays her father's support into a one-minute clip that will almost definitely cause tears. But since no man or woman is an island, it's a feel-good kind of cry, and a good reminder that even Olympians have parents ready to make a scene from the sidelines.