At the age of 26, in 1982, Kim Jong-Jin emigrated to the United States from South Korea to finish his engineering degree and start a life. Eventually, he got his daughter, Chloe Kim, involved in the sport of snowboarding and quit his job to drive her to practice and competitions because she was that talented. Now, his daughter is an Olympic gold medalist and he’s an Internet sensation.
As Chloe landed an almost perfect third run in the women’s halfpipe with a scored of 98.25, Jong-Jin stood with his wife and extended family holding a well-traveled sign that just said, “Go Chloe!” When the final scores were announced the real celebration began.
Jong-Jin told Hoda Kotb, who was watching part of the competition with the family that Chloe was his American dream, “When I came to the United States, this was my American hope. Now, this is my American dream.” (He said all of this in Korean.)
He also went on to say, “We all worked so hard. I can take a break now. We worked so hard. Now she’s going to go to college. She’s a student, and she’s got to go study hard. Snowboarding is what you do when you’re young. Who knows how much longer she’s going to keep snowboarding? I just want her to study hard. She’s got to go have a good experience in college. I just hope she lives as a happy girl. I just wish she was a little nicer to me! She’s such a teenage girl. She can do what she wants to do. We’ve been so close for so long, now I can take a break.”
After bringing the world to tears, Jong Jin got together with the bronze medalist’s dad, whose last name happens to be Gold and shared this fun fact– Kim means Gold in Korean.
And the world really got emotional.
After it was all said and done, Chloe told NBC, “my family has sacrificed so much for me to help me accomplish this dream… to be able to do this in their home country is amazing.”
And here’s that final, almost perfect run. This 17-year-old may be headed to college, but she’ll be back at the Olympics several more times too.