Figure skater trying to stay positive ahead of Olympic qualifying event

By Yonhap
  • Published : Aug 13, 2017 - 09:28
  • Updated : Aug 13, 2017 - 09:28

GOYANG (Yonhap) -- Former South Korean national figure skating champion Lee June-hyoung said Saturday he's trying to maintain a positive attitude ahead of the final Olympic qualifying event next month.

Lee, a three-time South Korean champion, won the men's singles title at the Figure Skating Korea Challenge last month in Seoul and earned the right to compete at the Nebelhorn Trophy in Germany in September. It's the last Olympic qualifying competition, where six tickets to PyeongChang will be up for grabs.

If Lee finishes in the top six, then South Korea will be able to send a male skater to the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics next February. If not, the host nation will not be represented in one of the more glamorous Winter Olympics events.

South Korean figure skater Lee June-hyoung performs during an ice show titled "Ice Festa of August in Gyeonggi" at Goyang Oulimnuri Ice Rink in Goyang, Gyeonggi Province, on Aug. 12, 2017. (Yonhap)

Lee, 20, admitted he surprised himself by winning the Figure Skating Korea Challenge, and he's just fighting hard to keep negative thoughts out of his mind.

"I am quite worried that I won't be able to bring home an Olympic berth," Lee told reporters after taking part in an ice show in Goyang, just northwest of Seoul. "My coaches have been telling me to stay positive."

Lee said he believes he can win an Olympic spot "as long as I don't make a huge mistake."

"I believe I will have a chance if I can execute all my elements cleanly," he added. "And rather than attempt a quadruple jump, I will try to perform less risky programs."

The Figure Skating Korea Challenge doubled as the first of three rounds in South Korean Olympic trials. The Korea Skating Union (KSU) will hold another qualifying competition in December, and then the national championships in January next year will be the third and final event for Olympic hopefuls.

In winning that first event, Lee skated a conservative free skate program without a quadruple jump, while his two rivals, Kim Jin-seo and Cha Jun-hwan, self-destructed with mistakes on their quadruple jumps.