Kim Yuna News

1 Feb

It’s been a while since I posted up her news, and heads up everyone! She will be competing in 4CC championship in Vancouver, Canada on the 5th february. Now I hope Eurosport will broadcast the event.

And, here was what I found by surfing the intenet, so credit goes to On Nu-ri JoongAng Ilbo [jeeho@joongang.co.kr].

‘I was taken aback by all the attention, but it’s kind of fun, too.’

For Korean sports fans today, perhaps no other athlete better epitomizes their hopes and dreams than figure skater Kim Yu-na.

Although her homeland has been barren territory for the sport in the past, Kim, 18, has beaten skaters from powerhouses like Japan and the United States at their own game. She has single-handedly thrown Korea into unprecedented figure skating frenzy.

For a nation that looked to baseball pitcher Park Chan-ho and golfer Pak Se-ri for inspiration during the late 1990s’ financial crisis, Kim is a new icon in another difficult period.

As the new year kicks off today, a recent survey by the JoongAng Sunday suggests Kim was the one person who made Koreans feel happier in 2008. In an e-mail interview with the JoongAng Ilbo, Kim mused about her fame and talked about what lay ahead for her in 2009.

Yuna seen at Angel on Ice 2008 in Korea

She spent most of December in Korea, first to compete in the International Skating Union’s Grand Prix Final and then to honor a commitment with her sponsors and to perform the Christmas Day ice show in Seoul.

Kim was last in Korea in May and the seven months in between have made a world of difference. Back then, she could walk through downtown Seoul unrecognized and undisturbed. But in December, she couldn’t even go out to lunch with friends.

“I was taken aback by all the attention,” she said. “But it’s kind of fun, too. I suppose I’ve got to learn to live with this circus, as long as it doesn’t distract me from my performance.”

Kim also offered her perspective on the fleeting nature of fame.

“Nothing lasts forever,” she said. “I haven’t given much thought about how long my fame will last. But no matter how my life changes in the future, I think I can adjust to that, too.”

It is with such maturity that Kim prepares for another chapter in her life: university. Kim has been admitted to Korea University in Seoul and her term is set to begin in March.

But she knows she won’t be like a normal student, given her training schedule throughout the year. At least until after the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Kim said, she will be resigned to life as a part-time student.

“A lot of teenagers dream about going to college and meeting new people, but I know I won’t enjoy the same lifestyle,” she said. “For me, until after the Olympics, all of that will remain just that, a dream.”

Kim stressed she is not bitter about having to sacrifice her youth for figure skating and said if she were to be born again, she’d still be a figure skater.

“An athlete’s life can never be ordinary anyway,” she said. “I am getting all the accolades and I’m in the spotlight, and I’ve had to sacrifice a lot in exchange. But I’m grateful for my life as it is, and even without the fame, I think I’d still be fine.”

In public, Kim exudes the image of a perfectly groomed athlete who can do no wrong. But she said in real life, she is just like any other teenager.

“Take away figure skating, and I’m just a girl,” she said. “I’m not perfect. Whatever image I may convey, it can just stay on ice.”

But she admitted she has a singular focus on figure skating now, and added dating and other frivolities that girls her age may get to enjoy can wait a few more years.

That’s because she has a slightly more important thing to do: giving hope to a nation in the economic recession.

“People tell me I can be a source of inspiration for them in these difficult times,” Kim said. “And that gives me the extra motivation. I don’t want to let anyone down.

Coming up, Kim has the Four Continents Championships in February and the World Championships in March. “I want to deliver some good news,” she said.

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