Months after her second straight halfpipe gold medal at the Winter Olympics in February, Kim told Cheddar last week: “[I] just want to kind of reset, don’t want to get right back into it after such a fun, but draining year at the same time, knowing that it was an Olympic year.”
Kim’s announcement continued a movement of athletes publicly addressing the pressures of elite competition.
Olympic gymnast Simone Biles and tennis star Naomi Osaka have revealed mental health issues amid battles to return to their championship form. Skier Mikaela Shiffrin bared her struggles with self-doubt during a Winter Olympics in which the two-time gold medalist failed to medal.
Recently, Biles’ Olympic gold-medal successor in the all-around, Suni Lee, said she is experiencing anxiety attacks due to the high expectations placed on her while she competes in college at Auburn.
Kim told Cheddar she experienced an emotional spiral after her first gold medal in 2018, but this time, “I knew what to expect, so i didn’t spiral the way I did after my first one. ... That was a really hard time for me.”
To help preserve her equilibrium, Kim said she will take an entire competitive year off. She also took a long hiatus after the 2018 Games.
“I just want to enjoy this moment, take it all in and then get back to it when I’m feeling ready,” she said. “But as of now, the plan is most definitely to go after a third medal.”
The next Winter Olympics are scheduled for 2026 in Italy.