The Korea Herald


Kim Yu-na returns home to promote Winter Games bid

By 김연세

Published : March 20, 2011 - 20:13

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South Korean figure skater Kim Yu-na arrived home on Sunday, with the world championships initially scheduled for this week in quake-ravaged Japan in limbo, and said she will concentrate on other commitments during her stay.

"I had been prepared for the championships and it's disappointing that I didn't get the chance to show it," Kim said at a press conference at the Incheon International Airport after arriving from Los Angeles, where she'd been training with American coach Peter Oppegard, who didn't accompany her on the trip.

"But it's wrong to put the sport ahead of what Japan is going through. I am just hoping people in Japan don't suffer any more damage," Kim added.

The 2011 World Figure Skating Championships were set to take place in Tokyo from March 21-27, and Kim was to have arrived in the Japanese capital on Sunday to begin practicing.

But following a 9.0-magnitude earthquake and the ensuing tsunami in Japan on March 11, the International Skating Union indefinitely postponed the championships. It would have been Kim's first competitive appearance since last year's world championships in Torino, Italy.

Ottavio Cinquanta, head of the ISU, has said that the governing body is considering canceling the event or rescheduling it for October, either in Tokyo or in a different country. Moscow, Russia, and the U.S. cities of Colorado Springs, Colorado, and Lake Placid, New York, have said they would like to host the event.

Cinquanta has asked Tokyo officials if they will be able to host the event later this year, and the ISU has said that it will "move forward" if Japan doesn't respond by Monday.

Kim, 20, has scheduled an ice show for May 6-8 in Seoul and is also set to join the 2018 Winter Olympics bidding committee for PyeongChang, a South Korean alpine town, in her capacity as an honorary ambassador.

"For now, I will concentrate a little more on being the honorary ambassador for PyeongChang's Winter Olympics bid," she said. 

(Yonhap News)