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Korea qualifies for Olympic figure skating’s team event

Korea qualifies for Olympic figure skating’s team event

Posted January. 13, 2018 07:55,   

Updated January. 13, 2018 08:08

Korean figure skating team has kept the pride of a hosting country by earning a spot in figure skating team event at the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics.

The Organizing Committee of the PyeongChang Winter Olympics and Paralympics said Friday that “Ten nations that will compete at the Olympics have been finalized. With Spain not being eligible for the team event, South Korea is qualified to compete in the event at the PyeongChang Olympics.”

The team event was first added to the schedule at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics. Each team from 10 countries features a male and female single skater, a pairs figure skating team and an ice dance team. Each performance is scored and the points of the four disciplines are added together to decide the team with the most points.

In order to be qualified for the team event, nations need to be among the top 10 in the total ISU’s qualification points and should have qualified skaters in three of the four disciplines. As Spain, which stood at ninth, failed to have qualified skaters in women’s single and pairs, Korea was able to earn a spot in the event.

Korean figure skating team will consist of Cha Jun-hwan (men’s single), Choi Da-bin (women’s single), Min Yu-ra/Alexander Gamelin (ice dance), and Kim Kyu-eun/Kam Kang-chan (pairs).

The team event will take place for four days, starting from short programs in men’s single figure skating on February 9 followed by short programs in women’s single on the 11th, free skating programs in men’s and women’s singles on the 12th. Which skaters will represent the country will be decided by each nation’s strategy. But international figure skating stars, such as Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan, who ranks No. 1 in ISU world standings, and Evgenia Medvedeva of Russia are expected to participate.

With the Korean team participating in the event, tickets for the figure skating team event are likely to sell out soon. To promote figure skating events, the Organizing Committee is planning to draw lots to distribute 1,000 down vests as prize. Ticket buyers for the team event on February 9, short programs in pairs on the 14th, and short programs in ice dance on the 19th will be auto-entered into the raffle.

Meanwhile, there are calls from the political circle that South and North Korea should field a unified team in figure skating. But the South-North unified team in figure skating is likely to cause a stir as South Korean pair may have to cede their spot to the North Korean pair of Ryom Tae Ok and Kim Ju Sik.

Heon-Jae Lee uni@donga.com