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Let 'Arirang' be heard at Pyeongchang ice rinks

Posted August. 05, 2017 07:17,   

Updated August. 05, 2017 07:38

"Are you a Red Sox or a Yankees fan?"

It took some time for the 24-year-old blue-eyed "Taegeuk dancer" Alexander Gamelin to answer the question. Gamelin is an ice dancer born in Boston, the U.S. However, he was raised in New York when he was still young. The Boston-based Red Sox and the New York Yankees homebred in New York are centennial rivals. "I'd have to go with Yankees that I spent more time with," he said. "But frankly speaking, I'm not that into baseball."

While it took some time choosing between the two Major League teams, it was easy for Gamelin to decide whether to become a Korean. "To me, Korea is a special country. I love everything Korea has to offer, including the food, scenery, culture and people," Gamelin told this reporter early this month. "I am so proud to represent Korea at such big event called the Olympics."

Gamelin acquired his Korean nationality as he passed the special naturalization eval‎uation by the Ministry of Justice in July. As a partner of Min Yura, Gamelin aims to play as the national ice figure dance player for the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics held in February next year.

Though only two years have passed since the two joined as one team, they are already above expectations. The two already were ranked 20th among a total of 32 teams at the World Championship in March, where contestants vie for the tickets to the Olympics. While they slightly hovered below the cutline (18th), their recent result is high enough to be qualified for the Nebelhorn Trophy open in Germany next month. The remaining five tickets will be given only to those who failed in the recent rounds.

Gamelin is also fluent in Korean, and updates his social accounts both in Korean and English. The Gamelin-Min Yura duet performed with a theme song "Arirang," wearing clothes inspired by the Korean traditional clothes at the last month's KB Financial Group Figure Skating Challenge. "The Pyeongchang Winter Olympics is the first one of its kind in Korea, and I chose "Arirang" on hopes that the song may resonate beautifully during the Olympics, he said. On Friday, Gamelin headed to the States where his training camp is located; holding his Korean passport in his hands.

Heon-Jae Lee uni@donga.com