The reason for that is tied up in the fact that figure skating -- for all its balletic grace and beauty -- is a sport. Yes, her long program was jam-packed with jumps, and it was entertaining to watch her unique spins. I remember those, but I recall little of what she did in between. I enjoyed watching Kim much more. She embodied one of the things that makes figure skating -- a sport in which I used to compete -- unlike most other sports: artistic grace. She skated beautifully. But does that mean she deserved to win? That Sotnikova, who was trailing then-reigning Olympic champion Kim by a fraction of a point after the short program, won on home ice is leading to speculation that there might have been something fishy going on with the judging. Having Kim denied the Olympic gold medal because of judging favoritism would be wrong. Bottom line?
The crowning moment of any opening ceremony: the final leg of the torch relay and the lighting of the Olympic caldron. Inbee Park, the golfer, was one of the final torchbearers. And the hero chosen for the highest of Olympic honors was Yuna Kim, the profoundly popular figure skater who won the gold medal in and the silver in She is a beloved celebrity in South Korea and often referred to as Queen Yuna. A unified Korean team of athletes marched out together carrying the unification flag as the South Korean president, Moon Jae-in, watched from the stands near Kim Yo-jong, the sister of the North Korean leader. The Olympics may have renewed hopes of a unified Korea for some, but attitudes about becoming a single nation again have shifted since the last time South Korea hosted an Olympics, the Summer Games in Seoul. In general, younger South Koreans are less favorable toward reintegrating with the impoverished North. In fact, a recent survey showed that more than 70 percent of South Koreans in their 20s were against reunification. They are more interested in domestic issues, like unemployment, and some feel that reuniting the peninsula would be burdensome for the South.
At the end of a flawless performance, it seemed that nothing could come between Yuna Kim and her bid to become only the third woman to win back-to-back Olympic gold medals in figure skating. But Kim, the undisputed darling of South Korean sport, and the millions of her compatriots who had stayed up into to the early hours to watch her decisive long programme at the Sochi Winter Olympics on Thursday, had not reckoned with the sport's opaque and controversial scoring system. When the scores had been tallied, the year-old overwhelming favourite had to settle for a silver medal, losing out by 5. South Korean skating fans immediately cried foul play. As of Friday, more than 1. The petition could end up breaking change. The Dong-a Ilbo newspaper said Kim had been denied the chance to join Germany's Katarina Witt and Norway's Sonja Henie as the only women to win successive Olympic figure skating golds by partisan judging and an "extra judge" in the form of Putin. Kim had been up against "the home turf score plus Putin's score", the South Korean newspaper said. While delirious Russian fans celebrated Sotnikova's surprise victory inside the Iceberg Skating Palace, doubts were quickly raised about the impartiality of at least two of the nine judges that had sent her into first place. Carolina Kostner, who won bronze, had cause to feel more aggrieved than Kim, who attempted only six triple jumps compared to her and Sotnikova's seven.
I think that was my favorite memory. It was Kim, South Korea and the Olympics at p. Temperatures were in the high 20s. It felt like the warmest evening of the week.
As the 35,capacity stadium could have predicted, the iconic figure skater lit the cauldron, the symbolic opening of the Games. In a long white dress and skates on a tiny sheet of ice, she became the first woman given the honor alone since and the youngest solo lighter since In spring , she began a month break from competition, in part to lend a hand to the PyeongChang Olympic bid in its final stages. He had actually served in that role for the Vancouver and Sochi bids, which edged PyeongChang by three and four votes, respectively, in the previous two host city votes.
The third PyeongChang bid needed some native athlete star power after trotting out Italian skier Alberto Tomba in its last defeat. Lightning struck between its second and third bids. In , Forbes Korea named her the No. She traveled with two bodyguards. Burns welcomed the addition of a woman whose popularity was likened as part-Elvis, part-Jordan in South Korea.
She represented the new Korea, which we were desperately trying to get across. Burns was convinced that the third bid, going against Munich and Annecy, France, was strong enough without Kim to just about reach the finish line.
The figure skater could help put it over the top. After Kim took silver at the World Championships donating her winnings to Japanese tsunami relief , Burns had fewer than two months to prepare her to speak at the IOC base in Lausanne in May. Seven weeks after that was the final presentation and vote. She was poised, well put together. I want to do it again. She really got it.
She understood what was at stake. She understood this was a little different than getting paid for a commercial. This was for the country. She was just endearing. She was humble, truly. This is a persuasive emotional argument. You are making history today, and I get to be a small part of it. Kim said she was an example of a living legacy of advancing winter sports in her country.
You only have to tell her once, and she got it. She was standing next to the South Korean president and PyeongChang bid chairman. A Gallup Korea poll resulted in He said the other bedrock was Theresa Rah, the bid communications director and former TV personality who spoke in both Olympic languages French and English in her Durban speech.
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