“Today is the day imugi turns to dragon,” was the message Jong Jin Kim told NBC that he texted her.
Her response? Part confident athlete, part budding dragon and all teenager: “She said hahahahaha, thank you very much.”
Kim didn’t need the message. Born in California to Korean immigrants, Kim established herself as another of America’s freshly minted darlings by hitting back-to-back 1080-degree spins on her second and third jumps, a combination no other woman has done in competition. “I knew I wasn’t going to be completely satisfied taking home the gold, but knowing that I could’ve done better.”
Sounds exactly like someone growing from imugi, a serpent-like lesser dragon, into a full-fledged dragon who became the youngest female Olympic champion on snow.
“To be a dragon in Korean tradition is to wait 1,000 years. Before [you are] a simple snake, like an anaconda,” Jong Jin Kim explained. “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.”
When he wasn’t talking to her about releasing her inner dragon, he was winning everyone over by holding a homemade sign that read, “Go Chloe!” and featured a big heart as he watched her compete. One person tweeted that it was an “Ultimate Dad Sign Move” — and, yes, he laminated it (the ultimate, ultimate dad move). Another added, “You wanna make me cry? Show me this picture of Chloe Kim’s dad.”
Kim actually has been dominant in her sport for years now, since she became the youngest X Games medalist when she was 13. Her father spins a story about the significance of the day she was born, on Easter in 2000. “The day Chloe was born, the door to heaven was open,” he told ESPN, explaining that the Holy Door of St. Peter’s Basilica, traditionally sealed shut, was opened that day to mark the 2,000th anniversary of the birth of Christ.
When she was 4, her father took her to a resort near their home and she was instantly at home on snow. He ended up quitting his job to home-school her, as The Post’s Rick Maese reported, and get her from Southern California to snow. “I can’t express how much I love my dad,” she told the Boston Globe. “I always get teary-eyed when I talk about him because he’s so great.”
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