American snowboarder Chloe Kim, won gold Monday on Tuesday in the Winter Olympic games in PyeongChang, South Korea. However, upon hearing her father’s proud boast after the event, one could see that this victory was a family affair.
In front of a group of reporters, Kim’s father, Kim Jong-jin, pointed to his chest and said: “American dream.” Then he began to cheer wildly and embrace the full moment of his daughter’s victory.
However, Kim referring to his daughter as his “American Dream,” is not necessarily a new thing, nor is it simply because his daughter won. He called his daughter his American Dream on the Today show, a day prior to Chloe’s gold medal win.
The family aspect of the win, was shared by Chloe herself, as she told reporters after the event that she “did it for my family.”
My dad has definitely sacrificed a lot for me and I don’t know if I could do it, if I was in his shoes,” the 17-year-old told Reuters. “Leaving your life behind and chasing this dream because your kid is passionate about this sport. I think today I did it for my family and I am so grateful to them.”
It takes a village to raise a gold medalist. Winning gold in South Korea is especially meaningful for Chloe Kim and her family. #BestOfUS #WinterOlympics https://t.co/D65Nuoyydu pic.twitter.com/lhHbz5m0BI
– NBC Olympics (@NBCOlympics) February 13, 2018
HELLO MY LITTLE AMERICAN DREAM IT’S TIME TO CRY pic.twitter.com/iXPcV1HZfP
– extra guacamomole (@guacamomole) February 13, 2018
Those sacrifices were not in vain, but they were severe. Kim’s immigrated to California from South Korea, in 1982. Though he worked in the engineering field, his defining work in America, has been his daughter’s snowboarding career. Kim actually quit his job as an engineer over ten years ago, so that he could devote himself full-time to his daughter’s success.
One example of the elder Kim’s devotion to his daughter, came in the form of a weekly six hour car ride, that they would take to Mammoth Mountain, so Chloe could train there.
Chloe remembers her father’s efforts, though she may not necessarily have been awake while they were happening.
“What would happen is that he would carry me out of bed,” Kim said in a 2016 interview. “I would wake up in a new spot every time without even knowing what happened.”
Nor did her father’s commitment end with a car ride. Once they arrived at the mountain, Kim would take out his own snowboard and train right next to his daughter.
In addition to training, Kim also provided his daughter with prophetic inspiration.
Before her performing in what turned out to be her gold medal event, Kim texted his daughter: “Today is the day imugi turns to dragon,” which refers to an old Korean legend where snakes turn into dragons.
“She was born in year of dragon,” Kim said. “To be a dragon in Korean tradition is to wait 1,000 years. Before [you are] a simple snake, like an anaconda. But they wait about 1,000 years, and then they turn to dragon. Go to the sky, and they make a big dragon with a gold pearl. She’s got a gold pearl in her mouth. I texted her this morning that this is the time to be dragon.”
You wanna make me cry? Show me this picture of Chloe Kim’s dad right before she hits the half-pipe. Yea, that’ll do it. pic.twitter.com/IilYKUz8xr
– Rebecca (@BeckksSG) February 13, 2018
Ultimate dad move by Chloe Kim’s father to laminate his sign pic.twitter.com/EFYfiWvvwj
– SI Extra Mustard (@SI_ExtraMustard) February 13, 2018
Speaking of her father’s prophetic text after the event, Chloe told NBC: “It turned out pretty well. If I’m a dragon, I’m down.”