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Korean-American Skating Star Emerges

Posted December. 17, 2005 10:36,   


Kim Hyo-jung, who emigrated to the U.S. after failing to be selected as a Korean national short-track speed skater, has gotten the spotlight in the U.S. media recently thanks to her unrivalled talent.

On December 15, the Associated Press (AP) as well as other U.S. daily newspapers, including the Washington Post and USA Today, featured the 17-year-old short tracker`s outstanding performance and her stories of settlement in the U.S. after Kim finished first in a series of races at the U.S. short track national championships, where the U.S. national short-track speed skaters for the 2006 Torino Winter Games will be determined.

Derrick Campbell, managing director of U.S. short track team, complimented Kim for being consistent in training and being well prepared for big competitions. AP quoted him as saying that Kim is a "true talent" who is emerging as a new star in the U.S. short-track team after leaving Korea two years ago.

Allison Baver, a 25-year-old roommate of Kim at the U.S. Olympic Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado and the second-place winner in the championship, said, "I heard Kim had to undergo hard training even when injured, but it`s like she is going to die at small things like headaches."

The Washington Post reported that Kim displayed her excellence in women`s short track despite difficulties from language barriers when she came back to the U.S. at the age of 15. Kim has U.S. citizenship because she was born while her parents were studying in the U.S.

The daily paper also said, "Other teammates in their 20s and 30s may have to see their hopes for the Olympics disappear because Kim has joined the U.S. national team, but at the same time they feel pity for Kim because she has to lead the team at such a young age."

USA Today pointed out the generation gap in U.S. short track, saying, "Kim was born in 1987 when her 34-year-old teammate Amy Peterson was selected as a national short tracker.”

Kim rose to the top at the Women`s 1,000m final at the third round of the World Cup short track held in Wisconsin in November 2004 as a U.S. contender, and she established herself as a "rising sun for the Olympics" for the U.S.

Yi-Young Cho lycho@donga.com