The Winter Olympics have officially ended and the big story for Koreans around the world was Kim Yu Na’s gold medal winning performance in ladies’ figure skating. She broke the scoring record by holding nothing back in the free skate and in the end, she won the hearts of millions as she finally let tears flow. She was one of the great stories of the winter Olympics, having arrived in Vancouver with the highest of expectations and the weight of South Korea to win its first medal in figure skating. She performed to perfection and walks away from Vancouver knowing that she executed perfectly and lifted a nation. There have been thousands of articles written about her performance and you all witnessed her breathtaking performance, so we leave you with not just one thought but many thoughts and visuals of Kim Yu Na. Enjoy!
Admit it. You cried while watching Kim Yu Na skate and we all cried when we saw Kim Yu Na let her emotions go soon as she finished. It was the first time we saw the raw emotions of a 19 year old girl and it was just as beautiful as her performance. Queen Yu Na became a king at the Winter Olympics as she shrugged off the pressure and threw down an incredible performance to win the gold medal in ladies’ figure skating. One of the TV commentators said it best when she said that was one of the greatest performances in Olympic history.
Kim Yu Na destroyed the old record with a world record score of 228.56 and won the gold medal. Her final overall score, 228.56, was about 10 points better than what Jeremy Abbott, the two-time U.S. national champion, managed here — and would have put her ninth in the men’s Olympic competition. The men are allowed to do one more jump in their free skates than the ladies — which makes what Kim Yu Na did all the more impressive.
“I still can’t believe the score that I received,” Kim said. “I’m really surprised. It’s almost as close as the men’s score.” “I have accomplished the biggest, most important goal in my life,” she said. “I am going to enjoy this moment for a while.”
Ladies’ figure skating is the crown event and all eyes were on the reigning world champion but pressure and history were against her as the previous three ladies’ figure skating favorites had failed to win a gold medal at the Winter Olympics. Kim Yu Na is special for shrugging that all off of her and just competing like the athlete she really is. Kim Yu Na was the perfect person to win a gold medal for South Korea. It’s a country that could be considered chauvinistic with a workforce dominated by men, but it was a female teenager on Thursday night that took South Korea on her shoulders and brought pride to a proud nation. Of course Korea took pride in their gold medals in speed skating and other sports, but this gold medal lifted a nation. The last glorious sporting win that captivated South Korea was the World Cup in 2002, and they didn’t even win the world cup. They reached the semi-finals and took pride in their greatest World Cup performance. Since then, South Korea has come up short in sports like the World Baseball Classic. Even this week, there was the disheartening disqualification of the short track speed skating team in the 3,000 meter relay race. They lost the gold medal after having dominated the event for the last four Olympics. But this is special…. really special. A young lady put South Korea on her shoulders and she made them proud. She is now King Kim Yu Na! Bravo Yu Na! Bravo!
It happened again at the Winter Olympics, but this time Apolo Ohno wasn’t involved in the controversy like he was 8 years ago in Salt Lake City. The South Korean woman’s speed skating team thought they had won the 3,000-meter short-track relay, which would have earned South Korea a record fifth consecutive Olympic gold medal in the event. They were so elated that they skated around the rink with the Korean flag waving. However, things became pretty ominous as the judges were watching replays of a critical interaction with a Korean skater and a Chinese skater. After deliberations, the South Korean team was disqualified for apparently impeding the Chinese skater, and all of the teams behind the Koreans were moved up one spot, including the U.S. team which ended up with the surprise bronze medal. Officials later said they were disqualified for clicking skates with China just after an exchange with five laps to go. Kim was in the lead when her left skate blade hit the right blade of China’s Sun Linlin. The Chinese team jumped for joy as they stood next to the Korean coach who was being told by the judges of their ruling. Drats! Another disqualification and controversy at the Olympics for the Korean speed skating team.
“I don’t know what the reason is,” said team member Kim Min-Jung. “I don’t have any clue what the referee was saying. It doesn’t make any sense at all.”
Kim Yu Na kicked ass during the first night of ladies’ figure skating competition at the Winter Olympics. She skated a near perfect performance and outdazzled her competition by setting the all time record for short program scores with a 78.50. This bested her closest competitor and biggest rival, Mao Asado, by nearly 5 points. She came prepared and was a competitor because she had to perform right after a magnificent performance by Mao Asado. It was appropriate that she came out swinging with a performance to the James Bond theme song. She skated with grace, power and beauty. Kim Yu Na is skating her heart out and competing with the grit of Michael Jordan. She has the weight of South Korea on her shoulders and also the knowledge that the previous 3 favorites entering the Winter Olympics failed to win the gold medal in ladies’ figure skating. A lot of guys could learn from her competitiveness and focus. She simply kicked major ice skating ass!
We’re not talking about ladies’ ice skating but ice skating around a circle. Korean’s have been known for winning in short track speed skating, but now they’ve migrated towards the long track which has long been dominated by the Dutch and Nordic countries. Today was a stunning gold medal win by Lee Seung-Hoon in the 10,000 meter race because the very heavy favorite Sven Kramer was disqualified because of an illegal lane change. He had the best time but he was disqualified because of a gaffe by his coach, who instructed him to change lanes wrongly. Sven was disqualified for the illegal lane change and he was so upset that he thew down his glasses and couldn’t talk to his coach.
Lee Seung-Hoon, who took silver behind Kramer in the men’s 5,000 meters, slashed more than 22 seconds off his personal best to win in 12 minutes 58.55 seconds. Originally, he finished more than four seconds behind Kramer. Sven was clearly the best even though he made that mistake, but it’s rather unfortunate that Sven lost because of a brain fart by his coach. It may not be the best way to win, but Lee Seung-Hoon isn’t complaining. However, it’s been a glorious Winter Olympics for the South Korean speed skating team because they’ve won more medals at these games than previously. Why do Koreans excel in individual sports like archery and speed skating? Wait, there are some team sports that Koreans excel in and that’s Ladies’ handball. Now don’t get me started.
So it has finally come. South Korea’s Kim Yu Na will finally hit the ice in competition for the crown jewel event of the Winter Olympics: woman’s figure skating. There’s a reason why it’s the last of the figure skating events because it carries the beauty and pageantry of the Winter games and Kim Yu Na possesses all of that in her skating. She enters the games ranked #1 in the world and having won many events. However, she carries the weight of the world on her shoulders because South Korea has put their hopes into this teenager to become South Korea’s first gold medalist in figure skating at the Winter Olympics.
Sport Illustrated’s E.M. Swift says Kim Yu Na is the best female skater he’s ever seen when she is at her best. ” I don’t say that lightly, but Kim is the complete package: elegant, athletic, fast, beautiful, charismatic,” says Swift. “Her programs are wonderfully choreographed. She has all the jumps, except the rare (for women) triple axel. Her spins are weightless. But the 2009 World Champion will have to win here before I put her above the likes of past Olympic champions Kristi Yamaguchi and Katarina Witt. She’ll have to prove she can withstand the suffocating Olympic pressure.”
So here’s a quick breakdown between Kim Yu Na and her biggest rival from Japan – which adds to the tension – Mao Asada.
Yu-Na Kim versus Mao Asada
There are several Annie Oakleys in this shooting match, but the gold medal could come down to the same two skaters who have been dueling for supremacy ever since the last Olympics: South Korea’s Yu-Na Kim and Japan’s Mao Asada, who were born 20 days apart in September 1990. Reigning world and Grand Prix series champion Kim seldom stumbles and is peerless from an artistic standpoint. But former world and Grand Prix titlist Asada, who lives and dies by her spectacular jumps, could rack up huge point totals if she lands two triple Axels in her long program as she did recently at the Four Continents event. Their contrasting talents could put the much-maligned revamped scoring system to the test.
Read more at New York Times about how South Korea weighs heavily on Kim Yu Na’s shoulders.
You just never know in short track speed skating until everyone’s crossed the finish line or if they even cross the finish line. In one of the most thrilling finishes in my narrow understanding of short track speed skating, the finals of the 1500M short track race was set up for a South Korean sweep as three skaters from South Korea were bunched together making the final turn towards the finish line. Meters behind them was Apolo Ohno and J.R. Celski as there was a significant gap between the Korean bunch and the Americans. However, a mishap by one of the Korean skaters undercut his countryman and both slipped coming out of the last turn. Was it simply bad luck or bad skating tactics? I certainly can’t say because I never lace the skates up but the devastatingly surprise ending for the two Korean kids opened a door for Apolo Ohno and J.R. Celski to cruise into 2nd and 3rd place. Lee Jung Su of South Korea did end up winning the gold medal but I’m sure the South Korean contingency had quite a volatile evening in their recap of what happened. Adding salt to the wound is the fact that Apolo Ohno ended up winning the silver medal and we all know that he has an adversarial history with South Korea in short track speed skating. It’s never been truer in in any sport than in short track speed skating that it’s “never over till it’s over.” How about them Olympics!
Saturday was opening night for the short track speed skating competition at the Winter Olympics in Vancouver. Apolo Ohno is the face of short track speed skating and he’s garnered medals from past Winter Olympics to the World Circuit. The Koreans are considered the dominant country in the short track speed skating as they’ve revolutionized the sport, however, if you can’t beat’em, then go hire their coach and that’s what the U.S. team did. However, the U.S. hopes to show the world that they’re more than just Apolo Ohno because their under the coaching of Jae Su Chun, the former coach of the South Korean team who happened to be dismissed prior to the Turin Olympics. Jae Su Chun was picked up by the Canadian team and then soon found himself the head coach of the U.S. team. Since 2007, coach Jae Su Chun has instilled the training techniques of the South Koreans and it has brought more of the team onto the medal podium in the World Circuit. I’m going to guess that those training technique involves “over and over” again.
“At that time, the U.S. wasn’t really good. Only Apolo was good,” says Jae Su in English, his second language. “But, I found possibility.”
“When I came here, the team looked like kindergarten and Apolo looked like a university student,” Jae Su says. “So that first year was going from kindergarten to elementary school, the second year from elementary school to first year of high school. And the goal for this year was to bring them from high school to university.”
For the Vancouver Olympics, coach Jae Su Chun has big ambitions for the U.S. team. He’s looking for the U.S. team to win more medals than ever at the Olympics, which would beat the previous best of four medals at the 1994 Lillehammer Games.
South Korea is on the medal board early because of a surprise performance by Lee Seung-Hoon in the 5,000-meter men’s speedskating. He won the silver medal which caught everyone in the arena by surprise. Lee, a former short-track speedskater who switched last year to long track, won the next heat in 6:17.00 to take a stunning silver.
“This is a dream, big surprise,” Lee said. “I’m very happy.”