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Kim Yeon-a Skates to Silver

Posted March. 04, 2005 22:37,   


At age 15, “Princess on Ice” Kim Yeon-a of Dojang Middle School is rewriting the history of Korean figure skating.

On March 4 at the 2005 ISU World Junior Figure Skating Championships at Kichener, Ontario in Canada, Kim earned 110.26 points for her free skate (total score 158.93), winning a silver medal after Japan’s Mao Asada with 179.24 points.

Kim is the first Korean to medal at the event where talented, young figure skaters from around the world compete.

Qualifying for first place in Group B, Kim made a mistake during her short program on March 2 and slipped to sixth place. Kim then skated beautifully in her free skate routine, receiving a remarkable 110.26 points.

Kim was placed first after her free skate, but Japan’s Asada, Kim’s rival, took home the gold. Asada, the last skater, was in first place after the short program and skated a near-perfect program, receiving 119.13 points for her free skate and winning the gold medal. The USA’s Emily Hughes came in third with a total of 140.89 points.

Kim’s silver medal is a great achievement for Korea. Cho Sung-Man, a former senior coach for the Korean substitute figure skaters, was overwhelmed with emotion when he said, “Kim’s medal is an astounding result that will mark the centennial history of Korean ice sports.”

Lee Chi-Sang, vice president of the Korea Skating Union, said, “We will fully support Kim so that she has the chance to win a medal at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.”

Standing 156cm tall and weighing 38kg, Kim has ideal physical make up for a figure skater. Kim has beaten older competitors and dominated in various competitions since she was in elementary school. Kim is the only skater in Korea that has mastered the triple jump.

Kim, an emerging star in world figure skating, hopes to follow the steps of the legendary figure skater Michelle Kwan.

Sang-Soo Kim ssoo@donga.com