Olympic athletes spend years of practice preparing for their one big moment. Under this pressure, you may think that the best way forward is to be serious to stay focused. Studies have shown otherwise, and for Chloe Kim, the 17-year-old snowboarder from California who tweets while she competes, broadcasting her food cravings to 189,000 followers helps ease her nerves.
On Monday, before her final run in the finals of the women’s snowboarding halfpipe at the 2018 Winter Olympics, Kim let her fans know that she was hungry for a breakfast sandwich.
Wish I finished my breakfast sandwich but my stubborn self decided not to and now I'm getting hangry
— Chloe Kim (@chloekimsnow) February 13, 2018
When asked why she was tweeting during competitions, the teen answered, “Like, what else are you supposed to do?” This is not the first time Kim has gone to social media during pressure-filled competitions as a respite. In between qualifying runs at the Olympics, she tweeted about her love of churros and her hankering for ice cream.
Aren’t you competing right now?
— Spencer Hren (@SpencerHren) February 12, 2018
These small breaks appear to have helped. Kim, the overwhelming favorite to win the halfpipe competition, rose to the occasion in the finals and scored 93.75 on her first run, a dominating score no other competitor came close to beating.
Even after she had clinched the gold medal, she chose to compete with herself on her third run. After being told that her grandmother, who had never seen her compete was in attendance, Kim dedicated her final run to her, aiming for a perfect run. “This one’s for Grams,” Kim said. The run was not perfect but it came close. Kim executed her signature back-to-back 1080s (three difficult in-air rotations) to earn a score of 98.25.
Study backs up why having fun before a big competition helps
Kim’s fun snack-filled approach to competitions is backed by science to help us stay stress-free. One study proves that our working lives are more successful when we balance work with play. The experiment in Psychological Science found that participants who were allowed to have a spa day before a big exam worried about their looming test less.
When we let ourselves have an enjoyable task before a hard one, it can boost our productivity. “Positive emotions at the outset make some work tasks easier to endure. Indeed, breaks and recovery from work benefit workers in many ways, from increasing job satisfaction to increasing productivity,” the researchers concluded. Case in point: Chloe Kim.
Kim’s win shows us that you can stay present and enjoy the pleasures of thinking about snacks, and still earn a gold medal.
chloe kim finally got her ice cream, and she’s eating it while doing interviews pic.twitter.com/9GL9waqDUQ
— Joon Lee (@iamjoonlee) February 13, 2018