Friday, November 20, 2009

Kristie Yamaguchi, Michelle Kwan and now Yuna Kim

She glides across the frozen stage spinning triple axel and toe-loop combinations immaculately yet easily. Powerfully yet gracefully.  On par with other Asian skating legends Kristie Yamaguchi and Michelle Kwan, Yuna Kim, representing South Korea, has become the new poster child of the classic winter sport and achieved celebrity status back home. No joke. I see her in advertisements practically everywhere I go in Seoul.  By the way, her name is pronounced YUH-na, NOT YOO-na. 

At only 19 years young, she has gone from an upcoming woman's figure skater to a reigning world champion dazzling audiences, judge panels and viewers like myself. I'll be the first to admit, I'm not a die hard fan of the sport unless I'm watching skating prodigy Jimmy McElroy and sex addict Chazz Michael Michaels competing on ice.  When I found out about Yuna Kim however, I took notice of the new Blades of Glory immediately, not only because she's Asian, but primarily because South Korea has never been reputable for ice skating.  

So how cute...I mean good is she really?  The most recent event was at Skate America which consists of two performances - one short program, the other a lengthier free skate.  If you can fall flat on your ass in the free skate portion of the competition which is almost doubly weighted and still manage to win the gold by a hefty 13 point margin, that's plenty good.  In fact, that's Jimmy McElroy good.  She's so damn good Yuna Kim's main rival isn't even another skater either - its herself.  Albeit, she isn't infallible so her coronation as Olympic Champion has been deferred until February.  

However, next month's Grand Prix finals in Tokyo will give Yuna the chance of redeeming herself from her recent missteps and reinforcing her title as the new reigning supreme of woman's figure skating.  Hey...even Michael Jordan had an off day.

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