Chloe Kim’s Father Quit His Job to Make Her Olympic Dream Come True—Meet Her Parents

Chloe Kim
Photo: AP Photo/Lee Jin-man.

Proud family. For Chloe Kim‘s parents—father Jong Jin Kim and mother Boran Yun Kim—their daughter is the definition of the American dream.

Chloe, who was raised in Long Beach, California, near Torrance, is one of three children and has two sisters: Erica and Tracy. She started snowboarding at the age of 4 years old and made her Olympics debut at the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea, where she won a gold medal for the women’s halfpipe in snowboarding. She competed in her second Olympics four years later at the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics.

In 2022, Chloe directed a 60-second movie with P&G titled “Always There,” which was dedicated to her mother and father. “My parents, as I’m pretty sure the world knows, are so important,” Chloe told People at the time. “My upbringing and giving me a sense of who I am — they were the most amazing supportive parents. I was so excited for this because I love our story, the Kim story. I really think that it would be relatable. I think all parents want the best for their kids and my parents want that for me too.”

Chloe told the magazine that one of her favorite scenes from the film was when her mother made her Miyeok-guk, a Korean seaweed soup. “One of the scenes we filmed was me pouring seaweed soup, Miyeok-guk, into a container. That was important to me because my dad would travel with me and we travel across the world to go find snow and find the best halfpipe for me to train in. Miyeok-guk was my favorite dish that my mom made,” she said. “My mom would always make me a big batch before we went, putting it in containers for us to take on the road.”

She continued, “Miyeok-guk was just one of those things that we got to bring a little piece of home with us across the world, wherever we were. That was probably one of my favorite scenes because I think that might be one of my favorite memories growing up traveling. My mom’s amazing, she’s my bestie. We do everything together. She was always the person that was a bit behind the scenes. She would stay back, she would take care of my sisters. She would work and she was like the glue that held our family together. She’s the most amazing chef in the world, which is why her Miyeok-guk is just unbeatable.”

Chloe also told People about how her dad taught her to be more confident. “The truth is he always made me figure things out on my own, from a young age, and he dealt with my sisters,” she said. “He would never give us much to go on, but I really think it was just to help us gain confidence in ourselves and be able to trust our gut instincts, not rely on our parents for anything when you get in those situations. What I love the most about my dad is that I really appreciate that he did that to us and he kind of made us figure it out. I think that really helped me with my confidence because it made me realize that I got this. I can figure things out, I can do it on my own.”

So who are Chloe Kim‘s parents, Jong Jin Kim and Boran Yun Kim? Read on for what we know about Chloe Kim’s parents and how they raised her to be the Olympian Americans love and know today.

Who is Chloe Kim’s father, Jong Jin Kim?

Jong Jin Kim is Chloe Kim’s father. Jong Jin emigrated from South Korea to southern California in 1982, and worked minimum-wage jobs to save money for college, according to The New York Times. He lived in Torrance and attended El Camino College, where he studied engineering in the day. At night, he would work as a machinery operator. Chloe started snowboarding when she was 4 years old after her father and her mother, Boran Yun Kim, tried the sport for fun. Once he found out his daughter was a natural, Jong Jin would drive Chloe for six-hours from their home in Torrance to the Mammoth Mountain Ski Area to train.  “He actually dragged me to the mountain when I was 4 to bribe my mom to come snowboard with him, so it really wasn’t voluntary on my part. But I’m actually really glad he did that. And I’m really glad he just kept bringing me to the mountain,” Chloe told USA Today in 2018.

After Chloe won the gold medal in women’s halfpipe snowboarding at the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics, her father told TODAY that she was his personal “American dream.” “We — an immigrant like me —we always say, ‘the American dream,’” he said. He echoed the same sentiment in an interview with USA Today. “It’s just great ’cause it’s kind of the American dream, American dream come true. It’s the land of opportunity. Why not?” Jong Jin said. He also told CNN at the time that he was proud to be the father of an Olympic gold medalist. “I was very stressed because everyone was saying Chloe was going to win gold but no one knows the result — that I cannot control,” he said. “Now I’m happy, all the stress is gone. I’m the dad of an Olympic gold medalist, not many people have this kind of feeling.”

According to CNN, Jong Jin quit his job as an engineer to focus on Chloe’s training as his daughter became older and her snowboarding career became more serious. “Obviously, when I was 8, I had no idea what he was doing. 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,” Chloe told the Washington Post in 2018.  After she won a gold medal at the PyeongChang Olympics, Chloe told CNN that she couldn’t imagine “leaving your life behind and chasing this dream with your kid.” Chloe also told TODAY at the time that her gold medal win was a reminder of her parents’ sacrifices.  “I was like, ‘I can’t cry right now. I can’t do this. I worked so hard on my eyeliner!‘” she said. “It’s such an honor to just represent the U.S. and the country where my parents immigrated from. This whole process has been amazing, and this journey has been so fun and full of so many memories that I will hold onto for the rest of my life.”

In an interview with NBC Olympics at the time, Jong Jong Jin also revealed the encouraging text he sent Chloe before she won gold. “Today is the day imugi turns to dragon,” the text read. He explained to TODAY, “She was born in the year of dragon. “To be a dragon in Korean tradition is to wait 1,000 years. Before [you are] a simple snake … and then they turn to dragon. Go to the sky, and they make a big dragon with a gold pearl.” Chloe told NBC Olympics that her father’s text helped her to stay motivated at the Olympics. “[My dad] was like, let’s be a dragon today!” she said. “I was like, ‘OK, no pressure or anything. But I’ll try my best…’ Something has to be right about it. It turned out pretty well, If I’m a dragon, I’m down.”

Who is Chloe Kim’s mother, Boran Yun Kim?

Boran Yun Kim is Chloe Kim’s mother. In an interview with People in 2018, Chloe called her mom her “best friend.” “I have two amazing sisters, my mom and I are like best friends so we always go shopping together, we always take Reese to the park together, and I think just me living in the city, when I’m not on snow, just kind of helps a lot with my life and being normal,” she said. “Like when I’m not snowboarding, I’m probably at the mall getting new clothes or at Petco.”

She also told the magazine about what it was like to compete in her first Olympics in South Korea and “represent both Korea and America” in terms of her heritage. “My parents are really excited about it, and it’s some crazy luck that my first Olympics are going to be in Korea where my parents are from,” she said. “And a lot of my relatives over there have never really seen me compete before, so I think it’s going to be pretty cool for everyone. It’s really exciting, my whole family is really excited about it, so that gets me even more stoked!” Chloe also revealed in an Instagram post in 2018 that her number-one beauty inspiration is her mother. “When I look, feel and do my personal best, it shows – it’s my personal 100! My mom is always helping me achieve my personal 100,” she captioned an Instagram photo of her and her mother, promoting the skin care brand Laneige.

During the PyeongChang Olympics, Boran went viral for her manicure that featured the Korean flag on one nail and the American flag on another. My mama is the cutest,” Chloe commented on an Instagram photo of her mother’s manicure at the time.

"Total Olympics" by Jeremy Fuchs

Image: Workman Publishing.

Total Olympics by Jeremy Fuchs

For more about the Olympics, check out Jeremy Fuchs’ 2021 book, Total Olympics: Every Obscure, Hilarious, Dramatic, and Inspiring Tale Worth Knowing. The book, which was called an “indispensable Olympic resource” and “pure fun” by The New York Times, follows the history of the Olympics, from how it began in a a Victorian English town called Much Wenlock to the discontinued sports that are no longer around like tug of war, firefighting, painting and, yes, live pigeon shooting. The bestseller, which features hundreds of true tales and historical photographs, also includes stories from both internationally known and little known athletes like gymnast Shun Fujimoto, who led his team to victory with a broken knee.

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