Immigrant Father Of Olympic Gold Medalist: She’s Living The ‘American Dream’

John Wellington Digital Content Manager
Font Size:

American snowboarder Chloe Kim is one of snowboarding’s brightest young stars, but her journey did not come without sacrifice.

Chloe’s parents immigrated from South Korea in 1982 in search of new opportunity. They raised Chloe in California where she began snowboarding at four years old.

Her father, Jong Jin, quit his job as an engineer over ten years ago to focus on helping his daughter hone her craft. He would make weekly six-hour drives to Mammoth Mountain so his daughter could get the best training possible. He would even ride along side her on a board of his own.

They shared their experiences in a short video.


After years of training and sacrifice, Kim made her Olympic debut on Tuesday.

Tensions were high as the Kim family and dozens of friends eagerly gathered at the bottom of the Olympic half-pipe to watch Chloe compete. Among the family in attendance were Chloe’s grandmother and several extended family members who had never seen her snowboard prior to the event.

Kim did not disappoint as she made history, becoming the youngest gold medalist in Olympic snowboarding history at the age of 17. If that isn’t enough, she is also the first woman ever to land back to back 1080s, earning her a near perfect score of 98.25 on her final run… when she already had the gold in hand.

In between her second and third runs, she casually sent out a tweet about how “hangry” she was:

Chloe dazzled and stole the hearts of America last night in one fell swoop. Her Twitter following increased by 100k during the contest alone.

Arguably the best part of this story however, is the reaction Chloe evoked in her family following her historical victory.

Many were obviously excited about Chloes victory, but her father’s reaction earned him the spotlight. According to the Associated Press, he pointed at his chest and emphatically shouted “American dream!”

Chloe’s father took risks and made sacrifices that would be unimaginable to many. To see his daughter achieve so much at such a young age on a global stage is a defining moment in his life, and one that he will not soon forget.

“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.”