|Korea’s Kim Yu-na (Yonhap)|
Figure skater Kim Yu-na staged the most memorable performance among South Korean athletes during the Sochi Olympics, but the judging controversy over her silver medal gave Koreans a negative impression of the Russian-held event, a poll showed Wednesday.
According to the phone survey of 606 South Koreans, taken by Korea Gallup on Monday and Tuesday, 55 percent said they were most impressed by the iconic figure skating star who put together a flawless short program and free skate over two pressure-packed days.
The 2010 Vancouver Olympic gold medalist, however, settled for silver behind the upstart Russian teenager Adelina Sotnikova, finishing more than five points behind in a ruling that confused and angered fans and experts alike.
The 24-year-old retired from competitive skating following the 2014 Olympic Games.
In the multiple-choice popularity poll, speed skater Lee Sang-hwa, who successfully defended her Olympic crown in the women’s 500 meters for South Korea’s first gold in Sochi, ranked second with 52 percent support.
The 24-year-old speed skater entered Sochi as the world record holder in her main event, having first set the mark in January last year and broke it three times in November.
The women’s team on ice also thrived, though the men’s team was shut out of medals for only the second time since short track became a medal sport in 1992.
Twenty-six percent of respondents favored Shim Suk-hee, who anchored the women’s relay team to gold.
The 17-year-old also won a silver medal in the 1,500 meters and a bronze in the 1,000 meters.
Short tracker Park Seung-hi came next with 13 percent of support.
She won two titles, first in the 3,000-meter relay and then 1,000 meters, along with the bronze in the 500 meters.
Seven out of 10 respondents watched the figure skating event most attentively to see the mesmerizing performance by “Queen Yu-na.”
Half of the respondents polled said they watched live footage of the free skate program, which was aired early in the morning on Feb. 21 due to the time difference.
Forty-six percent said the Sochi Olympics were not successful, with 88 percent taking issue with the unfair judging they believe gave a home-ice advantage to Sotnikova, while 33 percent said Russia did well in hosting the Winter Olympics.
South Korea sent 71 athletes to Sochi, its largest-ever delegation to a Winter Games, and made Olympic debuts in events such as curling and snowboard slalom.
South Korea won three gold, three silver and two bronze medals, finishing in 13th place.
The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points. (Yonhap)