Chloe Kim said Simone Biles’ withdrawal from Olympic competition was “inspirational.” Kim said it set an example for other athletes on putting their own wellbeing ahead of their sport.
Kim is set to debut new, more complex tricks at the Beijing Olympics in 2022.
Simone Biles’ decision to withdraw from competition at at the Tokyo Olympics is still reverberating through the sports world today, as Beijing 2022 approaches.
In an interview with TIME’s Sean Gregory, American snowboarder Chloe Kim said seeing Biles put her own safety ahead of her sport was “inspirational.”
“Having that comfort knowing that, ‘Hey, I’m doing something really dangerous, or I’m doing something that is hard on my body, if I mentally can’t do it, then I shouldn’t,'” Kim said. “It’s in my best interest. Showing the world that you have to put yourself first and give up something like an Olympic gold medal, that was very touching and inspirational.”
Biles withdrew from the team final in Tokyo, citing mental struggles. She later revealed she was dealing with the “twisties,” a phenomenon in which gymnasts struggle to control their bodies through the air and land cleanly.
Kim can certainly relate to such feelings, even if she’s not a gymnast. At the Pyeongchang Olympics in 2018, Kim became the first female snowboarder to land back-to-back 1080s — three rotations in the air— and then the first woman to land a front-side double cork 1080, which is two flips while completing a rotation.
Kim’s coach Rick Bower told TIME that he wants to address any issues Kim may have, rather than letting it build up.
“To talk about it as it comes up, and not push it away or anything, that’s our plan.”
For now, it doesn’t sound like Kim is dealing with any such effects from her sport. Kim said she plans to unveil three new tricks in Beijing, telling TIME they’re upgrades from her previous tricks.
“I’m going to go off,” Kim said.