American snowboarder Chloe Kim awarded Team USA teammate Kelly Clark with an Order of Ikkos medal after winning gold in the women's halfpipe Tuesday at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
On Wednesday, Alyssa Roenigk of ESPN The Magazine noted Kim becomes the first medal winner to give the honor from the United States Olympic Committee, which symbolizes excellence in coaching, to another athlete.
"I was grateful," Clark said. "Everybody promotes what a talented snowboarder Chloe is, but I'm prouder of her for the person she is. She handles pressure and success with grace and class, and that's what I relayed to her last night after she awarded me with that medal."
The 34-year-old veteran competed in the halfpipe for the fifth consecutive Games, finishing fourth behind Kim, China's Liu Jiayu and the fellow American Arielle Gold. She previously won gold in the event at the 2002 Salt Lake City Games and bronze in both 2010 (Vancouver) and 2014 (Sochi).
Rachel Axon of USA Today passed along comments Kim made about Clark during a meeting at the USA House to present the Order of Ikkos.
"She has been there for me every step of the way," Kim said. "Ever since then, she really took me under her wing, has guided me through every possible situation good and bad, and I'm so happy to call her my friend."
The 17-year-old phenom explained to People Now last month their relationship dates back nearly a decade and Clark has remained a steadying presence ever since.
"I met Kelly when I was eight years old and she just took me under her wing after that, and she was always so helpful, always gave me tips," Kim said. "If I was struggling to learn a trick, she'd always help me out and give me some advice."
It's unclear whether Clark will attempt to qualify for her sixth Olympics in 2022, but there's no doubt her protege has taken over as the new face of women's snowboarding in the United States.