SPORTS

Teen figure skaters put growing pains behind

By Yonhap
  • Published : Jul 27, 2017 - 12:53
  • Updated : Aug 11, 2017 - 13:15

Three up-and-coming South Korean figure skaters, Lim Eun-soo, Kim Ye-lim and You Young, have grown by leaps and bounds of late, an encouraging development for a nation always hungry for new stars on the ice.

And it turns out the three young ladies have also grown up quite a bit physically, too.

They attended a press conference on Thursday ahead of the Figure Skating Korea Challenge at Mokdong Ice Rink in Seoul. The competition, taking place on Friday and Saturday, will double as a qualifying event for the International Skating Union Junior Grand Prix season for the junior skaters, and the first round of the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics trials for the seniors.

South Korean figure skater Lim Eun-soo skates during practice on the eve of the Figure Skating Korea Challenge at Mokdong Ice Rink in Seoul on July 27, 2017. (Yonhap)
Lim and Kim are 14, while You turned 13 two months ago. They won't be old enough to compete in next year's Winter Games at home, and will compete among other junior athletes with an eye on the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.

All three have grown taller over the offseason. Lim grew 5cm to 160cm. Kim is now 161cm, 6cm taller than last season. You has grown 8cm to reach 157cm.

It's not unusual for skaters in their age group to suffer growing pains, but all three said they're no worse for the wear after their spurts.

"I haven't had a major injury, even though I've grown taller," said Lim, who won bronze at a Junior Grand Prix event last fall. "I heard growth spurts can affect jumps but I've been just fine."

Kim also reported no issues. You admitted she dealt with some minor knee pain but she's put it behind her now.

Lim and Kim finished one-two at the national championships in January, and Lim enjoyed a better season overall, having also finished fourth at the junior world championships in addition to the Junior Grand Prix bronze.

Joining the two rivals this season is You, who captured a stunning national title in 2016 at age 11. She competed at the novice level last season because she's a year younger than Lim and Kim.
South Korean figure skater You Young skates during practice on the eve of the Figure Skating Korea Challenge at Mokdong Ice Rink in Seoul on July 27, 2017. (Yonhap)
You is perhaps the most technically accomplished skater of the bunch. And coming into her first junior season, You said she spent a lot of the offseason on honing her jumps.

"I've been working on quadruple jumps and my focus recently has been on a triple axel," You said of the most challenging triple jump. "And if I can improve the success rate, I may even put a triple axel into my program this season."

You won't attempt a quad or a triple axel this week.

Lim said she began working with a new choreographer and she's pleased with her new program for the season.

"I've felt like I needed to improve other elements beside my jumps," Lim added. "I think I should take the next step this season, and I'll try to make up for some of the mistakes from last season."

Kim, who battled injuries during her offseason, said her primary goal is to give her 100 percent and not have any regrets.

"It's been a difficult offseason, but I'll be pleased with myself as long as I can execute everything I've prepared," she said. "If I do qualify for the Junior Grand Prix, I'll make sure I won't make the same mistakes as last season." (Yonhap)