Figure skating queen Kim Yu-na, in her blue dress trimmed with glittering crystal, was an angel on the ice yesterday. She seemed to dream on the rink while forgetting the enthusiastic support and severe pressure from her Korean fans. After completing her four-minute performance, she finally burst into tears. Despite winning several international titles, she had never cried. She was different this time, however. She shed tears of joy, not sadness. She cried because she was so emotional. Koreans cried with Kim after watching her stupendous performance and tears. The tears reflect pleasure, happiness and congratulations.
The Vancouver Winter Olympics has plenty of events, but the one garnering the most attention this year has been womens figure skating, which requires both athletic ability and artistic beauty. Kim scored 150.06 points in the free skating competition, crushing her own world record of 133.95 set at the Eric Bompard Trophy Figure Skating Grand Prix in Paris in October last year. Figure skating experts have hailed Kims outstanding achievements, comparing her to an athlete who runs the 100 meters in eight seconds.
She is the first female figure skater to achieve a grand slam by winning the ISU World Championships (2009), the Grand Prix Final (2006, 2007 and 2009), the Four Continent Championships (2009), and the Vancouver Winter Olympics. This was thanks to her own sweat and tears, sincere care of her family and coach, encouragement from the Korea skating community, and much support from Koreans.
Kim has fallen on her butt tens of thousands of times over the past 13 years. She first stood on the ice at age six. When her colleagues did a spin on the ice rink, Kim spun twice. She even practiced a certain jumping motion 65 times. In his book 1,000 Jumps Just for One Flight, her coach Brian Orser described her as a perfectionist who practices continuously. Sometimes, Kim even shed hidden tears because of physical pain. Her knees, back and coccyx troubled her since she jumped and spun on two blades countless times. In December 2006, she even took painkillers due to hip joint pain to compete in the Grand Prix Final, and won by beating Japans Mao Asada.
Kim Yu-na has earned Koreas first Olympic figure skating medal. The country had not even won any medals in a Winter Olympics until 1988. World-class Winter Olympic athletes can be nurtured only when a nation has a certain level of wealth. Kims gold medal means Korea has become a world sports powerhouse. Her victory, however, is also a historic event proving that Korea has achieved a higher level of economy, strength and culture.
Queen Yu-na inspires confidence and hope in Koreans. She has also shown to the world Koreas dynamism, gifts and efforts. Needless to say, these are the most precious gifts Kim gave to her motherland yesterday.