GANGNEUNG, South Korea -- South Korea's sole ice dance team of Min Yu-ra and Alexander Gamelin has started an online fundraising campaign to prepare for the upcoming Beijing Olympics.
Min, who was born in the United States to South Korean parents, and Gamelin, who was naturalized as a South Korean last year, competed in the PyeongChang Winter Olympics figure skating ice dance event and finished 18th in Tuesday's free dance.
Their free dance received enthusiastic applause from the South Korean audience as they chose "Arirang," a Korean folk song that symbolizes Korean sentiment and culture, as a tribute to the Korean fans and the country that gave them the chance to skate on Olympic ice.
|The picture shows a screen shot of the "Min Gamelin Korea Athlete Fund" by South Korea`s ice dance team of Min Yu-ra and Alexander Gamelin to raise funds for their Beijing Olympics dream. (Yonhap)|
Right after the competition, they expressed their willingness to compete at the next Winter Olympics as the only ice dance team representing South Korea.
As a first step, they have started to raise funds to cover the costs of training and international competitions, estimated to be about $200,000 a year. The team has no big corporate sponsors to give them full financial support for their athletic activities.
"Skating successfully to qualify for 2018 PyeongChang, and now, skating forward to the 2022 Beijing, Winter Olympics takes absolute dedication," the Min Gamelin Korea Athlete Fund states. "Your giving helps to defray our training and competition expenses."
The online donation page was launched in December 2016, and around $60,000 has been raised so far.
Min said that she has been hoping to expand the horizon of ice dance in South Korea, where ladies' singles figure skating enjoys huge popularity thanks to Kim Yu-na.
"There are no ice dance skaters in South Korea other than us. We've been the only ice dance team representing Korea in international competitions for years," she said after the free skate on Tuesday. "We're running for the Beijing Olympics. Alex and I have been talking about our plans to teach ice dance figure skaters in Korea after retirement." (Yonhap)