South Korean figure skater You Young is preparing to write a new chapter of Korean figure skating in the women’s short program that will take place at Capital Indoor Stadium of Beijing on Tuesday. Since Kim Yuna won a silver medal in Sochi in 2014, South Korean female figure skating has never made it to the top 5 in the Olympic games. You Young is getting ready to break this status quo, saying she will only focus on her own performance, instead of paying any attention to her competitors.
This time, the 18-year-old is preparing to show her triple axel jumps as her secret weapon for the win. In fact, You Young was the first South Korean female skater who pulled off a triple axel jump in an official game, and she still remains the only Korean female athlete who can do that. Globally, not many skaters pull off the triple axel jump with perfection.
The South Korean botched her triple axel jump in the ISU Four Continents Figure Skating Championships last month, which dragged her down to the sixth standing, and she has learned her lesson out of the experience. “It is true that she was rather shaken by the results of the ISU competition before the Olympics,” an official from her agency said. “The experience has helped keep her much more focused; she is in a very good shape, and her jump success rate is quite high as well.”
On the early morning of Feb. 9 when she left for Beijing, You spent about an hour training at Gwacheon Ice Rink in Gyeonggi before heading to the airport. This reflects how committed she is to the Beijing Olympics. In 2018, You won the qualifier to compete in the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang but had to concede the chance to her older peers because of age rules. This explains why Beijing is so special to her.
Her goal of the top 5 appears to be within reach. Kamila Valieva, the 16-year-old Russian skater, is also showing up in the program, but it is unlikely she will show her best performance owing to mental pressure. And there are only a total of six skaters coming to Beijing this time, who have outperformed You in their best record. If she can land safely from her triple axel jump and finish her performance without a hitch, making it to the top 5 won’t be hard. “I am feeling much better now compared to the first two days since I arrived in Beijing,” You said, promising to do her best till the end.