Kim Yu-na, Korea’s beloved Olympic gold medalist in figure skating, showed her charm once again ― not on ice this time but on a podium in front of the International Olympic Committee assembly.
Presenting the venue plan of PyeongChang ahead of the crucial IOC vote in Durban, South Africa, the 21-year-old spoke in flawless English, vibrant and full of energy.
Still, she felt huge pressure not to make any mistakes, Kim told reporters after the Korean city was announced as the host of the 2018 Winter Olympic Games.
“I felt heavily burdened that I should not ruin the hard work people have done for PyeongChang by making a mistake,” she said.
Members of the PyeongChang Bid Committee said that PyeongChang had benefited from the “Kim Yu-na effect,” as she gave the town a more dynamic and young image. She attracted the attention of the media and IOC officials wherever she went, they added.
Munich, PyeongChang’s contender from Germany, had put up figure skating legend Katarina Witt as the chairperson of their organizing committee. Media had described the rival campaigns of PyeongChang and Munich as a dual between skating queens from different generations.
Kim, who clinched a gold medal in figure skating in Vancouver last year with the world’s best score, joined the PyeongChang Bid Committee in May, when she made a presentation on its behalf in a technical briefing of the candidate cities in Lausanne, Switzerland.
She said staging the Winter Olympics in Korea would be her personal dream come true, as well as inspire young athletes in Korea and the Asian region where winter sports are not so developed as in Europe or North America.
By Lee Sun-young (firstname.lastname@example.org)