The Olympics Association doesn’t allow just anyone to volunteer as a crew member of the professional workforce in alpine skiing. You must be a skier with years of certified experience — or be a professional ski racer. Responsibilities include sideslipping the course and working on the steep and icy Olympic slope. It’s extremely arduous and difficult work for adults, nevermind an IMS ninth grader.

Nevertheless, Jin Chey ’18 has been battling blustery winds to ensure the course is ready for Olympic athletes to compete. According to her IMS ski coach Ethan Harris, her tenacity, talent, and grit make her a perfect person for the job. He notes, “Besides being extremely fast and consistent, she listens well, encourages her teammates to do better, and and is always seeking to improve.” Jin was voted captain by her teammates and won her last IMS race, a slalom race held on February 2, before heading out to see the Olympics in her home country.

We had a chance to catch up with Jin in Pyeongchang to ask her about this once-in-a-lifetime experience.

You’re volunteering at the Olympic Winter Games in Pyeongchang. As an avid competitive skier yourself, what are you most excited about? What will you be doing there?

I am really excited to participate in the Olympics as a volunteering worker since it will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience for me. As I grew up with an extreme passion for sports, especially alpine skiing, being part of the Olympics is a huge honor and opportunity for me. Seeing the athletes that I admire and being closer with them, I hope to learn the perspectives of the athletes.

Which sports are you most excited to watch? And which Olympic athletes do you look up to?

As a competitive skier, I am most excited about watching the alpine ski races. I will also be watching hockey games which I am also excited about.

I personally have many athletes that I look up to. I look up to Lindsay Vonn and Mikaela Shiffrin who are both alpine skiers from this year’s Olympics the most.

Lindsay Vonn, in my opinion, is a definition of an athlete who embodies the characteristics of the value that I think is vital in sports and even life. I also talked about grit in my “This I Believe.” She overcame major injuries as an athlete from her broken back, arms, ACL, and countless more. However, she has captured an all-time win record on the women’s side with 76 World Cup wins. In addition to her 2010 Olympic downhill gold and super G bronze, she holds five World Championship medals. She claims that this will be her last Olympic appearance, so I really want to see her race.

Another skier is Mikaela Shiffrin who is the reigning overall World Cup champion, the reigning world champion in slalom, and a four-time winner of the World Cup discipline title. Shiffrin is the youngest slalom champion in Olympic alpine skiing history from Sochi at the age of 18.

I have special memories with both of them. I met Lindsay Vonn when I was a 6th grader, as the representative of the Korea National Junior Ski Team when she visited Korea. I met Mikaela Shiffrin last year, when I went to St. Moritz to compete in Future Champions Ski race.

As an athlete, what are some of the ways you prepare—both mentally and physically—for a big competition or race?

I think preparing oneself for a big competition or a race is very individual based. One of the fundamental things that I always think is that if I know that I have practiced enough, I should take the race or competition as an opportunity to perform those skills that I have prepared. Before the big race or competition, I always stretch to physically get ready. In order to get mentally prepared, I close my eyes and imagine myself in the position of competing in the races.

How did this racing season going for you at IMS?

Ski racing at IMS was wonderful this year. Being the captain and in 9th grade made me responsible to set a good example and help others. With passionate coaches and team members, we were able to have a successful season.

What is your favorite skiing memory to date?

My favorite skiing memory was when I skied with my brother and my first ski coach when I was very little at YongPyeong Ski resort, which is the mountain that the SL and GS races are held for the Olympics. I had my favorite doll inside my jacket which made me happy and feel safe.

You’ll be graduating from IMS this spring. What’s next for you?

Recently, writing my blurb for the year book made me feel like I was graduating soon. Yet, I have not imagined myself out of IMS since we, the 9th graders, just finished our applications. For now, I want to have the most experience at IMS first, then take them to my next school to explore and develop more.

Volunteering is a core part of the Olympic Games. According to the Olympics website, “Olympic volunteers help bring every edition of the Games to life, while also working tirelessly to ensure that everything runs as smoothly and efficiently as possible.”