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4 Olympic figure skating spots up for grabs in final trials Sunday

(Yonhap)
(Yonhap)
The four figure skaters to represent South Korea at the Beijing Winter Olympics will be determined in the final national team trials Sunday.

The second leg of the two-day Olympic trials will open Saturday in Uijeongbu, some 20 kilometers north of Seoul in Gyeonggi Province.

Saturday will feature short programs for the men's and women's singles, followed by free skates for both disciplines Sunday.

South Korea has secured two quota places in each of the men's and women's singles. The top two skaters in those disciplines based on combined points of the two rounds of the trials will grab their tickets to Beijing next month.

On the men's side, the 2018 Olympian Cha Jun-hwan won the first leg in December with 239.16 points, with Lee Si-hyeong in second place with 237.01 points.

Kyeong Jae-seok is a distant third with 204.64 points, and barring a collapse of epic proportions, Cha and Lee will likely head to Beijing.

Cha, 20, has been South Korea's top male figure skater for years. He is also the only one in the country who lands a quadruple jump with any consistency.

He was the lone South Korean representative at the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics. The then-teenager finished in 15th place, the highest position ever by a South Korean male figure skater.

Cha is now poised to qualify for his second straight Olympics. Only two other male figure skaters from South Korea have appeared in back-to-back Winter Games.

In the women's singles, You Young (208.59 points) and Kim Ye-lim (205.82 points) occupied the top two spots in the first leg of the trials.

The next three skaters are all middle school students who aren't yet old enough for the Olympics. Among those eligible, Lee Hae-in is the closest pursuer of You and Kim with 190.63 points.

You, Kim and Lee are all trying to make it to their first Winter Olympics. Of the trio, You is the most accomplished, with the 2020 Winter Youth Olympics gold medal and the 2020 Four Continents silver medal to her credit. Kim won the 2021 national championship, and Lee, who enjoyed a strong junior career, hasn't yet had much success as a senior at age 16. (Yonhap)

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