Kelly Clark, 30, is the best female snowboarder in history. She has more wins, medals, and titles than any other snowboarder ever, and has been to the Winter Olympics four times. So are they still fun after all this time? Of course! She stopped by OKMagazine.com after taking home the bronze medal in halfpipe to chat about Sochi and her amazing career.
OK!: This is your fourth Olympic Village, fourth location. How did this city compare?
Kelly Clark: I think we were all pleasantly surprised! There was so much hype, so much controversy, for lack of a better word, going into these games. It was well organized, we felt safe, the village was cool. What I liked about it was that all of the events were centrally located; there have been Olympics where the nordic skiing is an hour and a half in this direction, and the alpine skiing was an hour and a half in this direction. So I thought it was one of the better Olympics I’ve been to.
OK!: Good! All that drama.
KC: It really was a story that they were trying to talk about. But I think this is the story more people should focus on, you know? [reaches into her bag and takes out her bronze medal] Any time you walk away from the Olympics with one of these…
OK!: Where do you keep your medals?
KC: I have one on display in my parents’ restaurant. I have one in my place in California. I was traveling with them to events and stuff, and now I have to revisit that, how I’m maybe going to put them on display. It’s cool, sometimes you can put them in a school or some place where people will enjoy them.
OK!: Are you going to go back for closing ceremonies?
KC: I’m not going to make it back for closing. I enjoy that part of the games, but with Russia being so far away, it’s not logistically in the cards. And I have another event coming up, too. I’m here doing media stuff, I’ll bounce around the States, and then I’ll get back to the rest of my season. Photo shoots, contests, maybe go to the beach.
OK!: Yes! Is there some vacation for an Olympian, who just spent months really intensely training?
KC: Yeah, I just called one of my best friends yesterday, and was like, Heyyyy, I can’t wait to catch up, but more importantly, have you planned our surf trip yet? A crew of friends and I go on a surf trip every spring, after our season, just to decompress. The last two years, we’ve gone to Nicaragua, before that it was Costa Rica. It’s kind of a tradition. Don’t be fooled that we love winter!
OK!: So you surf! Are there any other sports you’re into in your off-time?
KC: I go road biking. I love to golf, I think golf is kind of like snowboarding—it’s impossible to be good at. You have a good shot, a good run, and next time you start from scratch.
OK!: What are your favorite sports to watch during the Olympics, aside from your own?
KC: I think going to hockey games is one of my favorite things to do. It was fun this year, watching slopestyle, a sport that we’ve seen forever. But to see it on the Olympic stage, wow! This is really happening right now.
OK!: What is the downtime like at the Olympics? What is the socializing like, and has it changed for you since you were a teenager?
KC: You get both ends of the spectrum. You have people [about to have] the biggest event of their lives, and then you get people who are relaxing for the first time in four years. You can typically, by just glancing at someone, get where they’re at in that journey! They’re either super stressed or super mellow. Kaitlyn [Farrington], the woman who won the women’s halfpipe, and me, there were days when we didn’t get out of our pajamas. We’d snoboard, then we’d pretty much sit in the cafeteria, eat all day, watch the Olympics in our pajamas. But it’s great, with all the Team USA-issued gear, we have no shortage of patriotic things to wear. I know it’s not that glamorous, but…
OK!: What is next for you? What happens when you train for the Olympics for four years, and it’s over?
KC: Well, I’ve had a lot of different experiences with that. I’ve done a lot of growing up over the years. My first Olympics was when I was 18, and when I got done I kind of spun my wheels. But I think I have a healthier perspective on the Olympics, more so than I used to, where I don’t see them as a destination, or something that should define me. The last two games, in Vancouver and Sochi, I was pleasantly surprised to find myself motivated. I love snowboarding, I love competing, I love pushing myself, and I kind of felt, that this time the schedule was reset. “Are you going to compete in another Olympics?” is the main question, and you now, four years ago it seemed impossible at 30 years old. Who’s to say 34 or 35 would be much different? I’m motivated, and all that being said… I will go to the beach! I will relax.
OK!: You are the “winningest” female snowboarder in history. Of all your records, which are you the most proud of? What do you want your legacy to be?
KC: In 2011, I was the first woman to land a frontside 1080 in the pipe. It’s a trick that only the guys had done until that point. To do that was one of the big moments of my career, outside of medals. It was really amazing, because it’s easy to just do tricks during an Olympic final, because you have to. But I went into that season to raise my own level. I wanted, within my ability level, my consistent run be as good or better than everyone’s best—so then I can do whatever I wanted! That X Games, I was able to have the contest locked up, and in the victory lap, I was the first woman to land this 1080. It’s easy to celebrate yourself—I did this, this was amazing!—but I got to the bottom of the pipe that day, and all my peers tackled me. They celebrated what I did for the sport. It’s moments like that I want to be remembered for.
OK!: What are your pop-culture guilty pleasures?
KC: I do love me some good pop jams. I love some Katy Perry, some Justin Timberlake. All that. All those jams get me going, get me excited to go to the pipe. I’m a bit on the nerdy side, documentaries on Netflix. BBC shows, things like that. Something that’s slightly educational, like Mythbusters.
Did you watch Kelly compete? Have you ever tried snowboarding? What was your favorite moment in the Winter Olympics? Tell us in the comments below or tweet us @OKMagazine.