Chloe Kim Has Been Prioritizing Her Mental Health—with the Help of Her Dog
The Olympic snowboarder is focusing on resting, hanging out with her miniature Aussie, and raising money for charity through a new initiative with Purina Pro Plan
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In February, Chloe Kim made history as the first woman to win two Olympic gold medals in the halfpipe. Since then, she’s been prioritizing her mental health. That’s included the major decision to sit out the 2022–23 snowboarding season, she said in an interview with Cheddar News last month.
“When you train for something for four years, and it’s done, you kind of just don’t want to do anything. Finally, you have a break,” Kim told Outside. “It’s been nice not to think about anything next, because I’m naturally so competitive that if I think about the next step, I’ll just stress myself out about getting there.”
Since the 22-year-old returned home from Beijing, “things have been pretty chill,” Kim says—a stark contrast to what she calls the “chaotic” turn her life took after the 2018 Olympics. Overwhelmed by the international attention she was receiving after the Games in Pyeongchang, Kim threw her first gold medal in the garbage can at her parents’ house (it didn’t stay there for long). She took some time away from the slopes and enrolled at Princeton University in the fall of 2019. After a nearly two-year break, she returned to competition with a win at the Laax Open in January 2021, and took her sixth X Games title in the lead-up to Beijing.
Her biggest helper navigating the anxiety and pressure has been her dog, Reese, a miniature Australian shepherd she adopted in 2016. “I think that dogs just know if you’re feeling down. They can really sense your energy,” Kim says. “When I’m feeling stressed, she won’t leave my side. She’s never judging me—it’s always just love and support and cuddles.”
Reese, who Kim describes as “pretty high-energy but chill at the same time,” is a celebrity in her own right. The photogenic pup shared the cover of Sports Illustrated with Kim in 2018, wearing her mom’s Olympic gold medal around her neck. And she has more than 9,000 followers on her Instagram account, @reesetheminiaussie. “She’s a hot commodity, for real,” Kim laughs. “And now she’s booked out. My girl is paying the bills.”
Most recently, they’ve teamed up with the dog food brand Purina Pro Plan on an initiative to inspire people to get active with their dogs. For every mile people log on Strava from April 19 to May 17, the brand is donating ten cents to Athletes for Animals, an organization of professional athletes dedicated to homeless pets. “We’re encouraging people to get out there and give back to a great cause,” Kim says. “Reese and I have a bunch of hikes and activities planned, so we’ll be part of hitting the million miles.”
What’s Kim doing next to prioritize her “me time”? “I’m gonna go on vacations and celebrate another great accomplishment.”
And when Kim does return to competition, Reese will be there for her—even from thousands of miles away. “The morning of my contests, I always get a picture of Reese that my mom sends me. It’s just become a tradition,” she says.