Golden Skate

Eun-soo Lim aims for for JGP Final

Eun-soo Lim

South Korea’s Eun-soo Lim performs her exhibition number at the 2017 World Junior Figure Skating Championships.

South Korea’s Eun-soo Lim turned a few heads in her international debut season 2016-17 when she took a bronze medal at the Junior Grand Prix in Dresden, Germany, and finished fourth in her first appearance at the 2017 ISU World Junior Figure Skating Championships.

The 2017-18 season has just begun, and the petite skater is ready to go. She won silver at the Asian Open Trophy in Hong Kong in early August, and in two days, will compete in her first Junior Grand Prix event this season in Salzburg, Austria.

“This season is my second junior season,” noted the 14-year-old, who usually trains under Hyun Jung Chi at the Taereung Training Center in Seoul. “I want to be more perfect and I am trying to do better, to show my best, to improve my spins and my jumps and everything.” Earlier this summer, Lim spent two months training in the Los Angeles area. “I learned a lot of things by skating with worldwide (known) skaters in a new environment.”

Scott Brown choreographed Lim’s short program to “Rich Man’s Frug,” while Cindy Stuart created the long to “Grand Guignol” and “Oblivion.”

“I chose powerful music for both programs this season, especially in the free program,” the Korean champion explained. “I mixed various Tango pieces to show a strong and a soft performance at the same time.”

At the 2017 Asian Open Trophy, Lim finished second to Japan’s Rika Kihira, who landed a triple Axel. Lim was not entirely pleased with herself. In the short program, Lim’s triple flip-triple toe combination was called underrotated, but she landed a good triple Lutz in the second half of the program. In the long, the Korean champion skated clean, only her triple Lutz-triple toe combination drew a few minus 1 Grades of Execution (GOE).

“I would like to have had a perfect performance at Asian Trophy, but I will make it up by training harder,” she said.

Lim eyes the podium again in Salzburg this week in her second event of the season.

“My second Junior Grand Prix will be the sixth event in Poland,” the teenager from the Seoul area confirmed. “My goal is to compete in the Junior Grand Prix Final after having done clean programs in both events.”

Like many other young Korean skaters, Lim once was inspired by 2010 Olympic Champion and 2014 Olympic silver medalist Yuna Kim to take up the sport of figure skating.

“I saw Yuna Kim in a competition on TV when I was six or seven years old and her costume was so sparkly! I was so young, I just wanted to wear that costume so I started skating,” Lim recalled.

Lim’s coach Hyun Jung Chi, just happens to be one of Kim’s former coaches, and been coaching Lim for three and a half years now. “She has a really nice mentality. She has improved so much. Her jumps are better and her performance has improved as well,” said the coach.

Although she is only 14 years old, Lim knows what she wants and is very goal-oriented. She likes to choose her music herself. Coach Chi describes the young skater’s personality as “strong.”

“I think I am a happy person,” Lim shared. “I like to communicate with people.” To be able to talk with people from different countries, she has been studying English with a teacher.

Lim, who looks up to USA’s Ashley Wagner and Canadian Kaetlyn Osmond, enjoys competing and being watched by many people when she is performing. Her coach sees a lot potential in her. “I think she can be champion at Junior Worlds and be in the top three at World Championships (in the future),” Chi said.

Off the ice, Lim is in school, but does not go to class on a regular basis. “She is not home-schooled,” the coach explained. “She attends middle school, but usually she is at the rink training with the permission of the school and for the examinations she goes to school.”

“It is very hard in Korea to balance studies and training,” Chi continued. “She needs to study more, but the system does not work for her right now. The education department limited the number of the competitions during the semester, so it is really hard for the skaters.”

Lim makes it clear that she has her priorities: “I focus more on my skating, but I chose skating and I think that was good.”

In her spare time, the skater enjoys baking cookies or bread and preparing snacks. “She is a very good cook, I heard,” Chi offered. “She likes doing cookies and cakes, but now she has been focusing on preparing food. She could be a chef one day.”

However, Lim might have different plans for her future after her competitive career. “I like singing, but I am not really good, I am just trying. I think I would like to try to become a singer,” she said with a smile.

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