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Olympics spotlight: The knock against Chloe Kim

By in Press Enterprise on February 11, 2018

By Scott Reid

PYEONGCHANG, South Korea—Chloe Kim is superstitious.

Before each halfpipe run, the Torrance 17-year-old and Olympic gold medal favorite, knocks on her snowboard.

“I knock on my board to unjinx myself,” she said a few days before Monday morning’s (Sunday on the West Coast) Olympic Games halfpipe qualifying.

“How many knocks?” asked Shaun White, the two-time Olympic halfpipe sitting next to her.

“It depends on how nervous I am,” Kim answered. “If I’m really nervous I’ll just be going like knock, knock, knock,” Kim said knocking on the table in front of her as she spoke.

That Kim, the daughter of Korean immigrants, only knocked three times was noted by local journalists.

The number four is considered bad luck in Korean culture. For instance if you want to get off on the fourth floor of a Korean elevator you push the button with the letter F on it in place of the number 4. Four became the Korean version of “13” in part because the pronunciation of four sounds similar to the Chinese word for death.

“Four is actually my lucky number so hopefully that is not true,” Kim said.

A preference that has some in the Korean media has concerned for Kim, who is viewed as something of a rock star in her parents’ native land.

Kim’s Korean roots have only increased expectations on an athlete that has been billed as a transcendent personality for an Olympic movement in desperate need of a breakout star to connect with a new generation of fans.

RELATED: Can Chloe Kim save the Olympics?

“I don’t really think of it as pressure,” Kim said. “I try not to feel pressure because I feel like it kind of throws you off. I always try to focus on myself. But it does kind of creep into the back of my mind. I always just […]    

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