Last Yu-Na Article, I Promise!
Snippets from another interview Yu-Na did on 12/28/06:
--Have you studied ballet?
"Ballet? I tried a few times, but it wasn't very fun so I quit. People say I should take ballet if I want to skate, but the two are totally different. The movements themselves are different, no?"
--On the implication that Yu-Na benefits from her competitors' (namely, Ando and Asada) mistakes:
Yu-Na's mom replies here, "If other athletes impart us with a bit of luck, we are, at turns, grateful and apologetic." Yu-Na replies too, "I will hope to meet again in better condition and a better performance."
--Who do you think is prettier, you, or Mao Asada?
The reporter observes that Yu-Na is embarrassed by this (extremely ridiculous!) question. It is further reported that Yu-Na rolls her eyes and then replies, "Whoo! What kind of a question is that? What do *you* say if someone asks you if you think you are prettier than someone else? That question sucks." The reporter notes that Yu-Na immediately changes the subject.
Yu-Na goes on to state: "I don't have any rivals. I think all the athletes are great and we all have a lot to learn from each other, after all, each competition features so many good skaters. In fact, I think it is an honor just to rub shoulders with my internationally famous elders."
"A lot of people often compare me with Mao Asada and I think the biggest difference between us is that Mao does the 3X, a jump which is not easy for even then men, while I want to confidently pull off consistent triples rather than learn the 3X. Someday I might learn the 3X, but I think it is more important to upgrade what I'm good at now rather than work on what I can't do at present. [For] I can't afford to lose my confidence."
--On getting new boots from a legendary Japanese skatemaker:
"I plan to use my old boots for the remainder of the season. If I use my new boots, I'll have to break them in all over again, and so for Worlds, I'll use my old boots."
--What Mom thinks of Yu-Na winning the GPF:
"With this victory, I think Yu-Na has gained some new expectations and hopes. But because she's risen so quickly, so soon, I think there are a lot of people who harbor feelings of jealousy and resentment. [My note: WORD!] I'll have to help Yu-Na a lot, but it will be difficult."
The article states that Kim's mom says a lot of the jealousy has to do not only with Yu-Na's victories, but the sponsorship offers that are rolling in.
The article also includes some bits from Yu-Na's now ex-coach. It claims that she (Park Bun-sun) was approached by Yu-Na's mom and the Korea Skating Union to coach Kim in May 2005. Some light may be shed on the coaching question.
[My note: this sounds kind of weird, since by May 2005 Kim was the World Junior silver medalist; you'd think that the Korean skating federation would have approached someone with more credentials than being a national figure skater for 10 years from a country that never made it past the QRs. Especially since her prior coach was of similar caliber; Yu-Na worked with Kim Seyol, a former men's skater whose best result was 33rd at Worlds who coached Yu-Na in 2003 and then for part of the 2005/6 season. Other coaches include Ryu Jonghyun, a figure skating judge who coached Yu-Na from 1997 to 2000, and Shin Hye-sook, probably one of Korea's most experienced coaches, who worked with Yu-Na from 2000 to 2003. Indeed, Shin is frequently credited as the one who "brought Yu-Na up" as a skater.
This is not to say that domestic coaches are necessarily inferior -- from my own humble experience, Korean coaches ROCK when it comes to teaching good spinning and proper jump technique; they are not above corporal punishment when it comes to flutzes! -- but Yu-Na is a completely different kind. She is the best skater in Korea, ever, and will likely be so for a long time. Heck, if the Korean skating federation can foot the bill for Lori Nichol to choreograph programs for much lesser Korean skaters, why not shell out the big bucks for Yu-Na who was and is actually capable of winning? Why didn't they find someone at Colorado Springs, where Yu-Na trained for at least three summers? My fantasy match-up is Chris Dean doing a program for Yu-Na.
On the article, there is a picture of Yu-Na's ex-coach, a very attractive young lady herself. Other articles state her age as 28, or 29, by the Korean system.]
--On coaching Yu-Na:
"After retiring from competitive skating, I went to graduate school, and while there, I got a call asking me to coach Yu-Na. I knew that she was moving up to seniors, and that if she did well, it would be good, but if she didn't, I'd get all the blame. So I was hesitant, and accepted the job only 2 days before Yu-Na left for Canada. What convinced me was when I had first seen Yu-Na skate when she was in second grade. She was a real fighter."
"After we returned from completing three months of training in Canada, Yu-Na began intensive training. But only after meeting three times, Yu-Na's mom raised the possibility of retiring Yu-Na from skating. She said that it, realistically, it was too much pressure and difficulty, and she [Yu-Na's mom] could not possibly go on. I was very surprised to hear that, but after a few such conversations, I just left everything to fate."
--At the GPF:
"When we got there, Yu-Na's condition was just not up to scratch. It became impossible, what with her inferior condition, back pains, plus trying to deal with everything without painkillers. Plus it was hard too, since Miki Ando and Mao were flying through practice. Yu-Na was not 100% during the final free skate. It really did help Yu-Na for the two frontrunners to have made mistakes."
The reporter mentions that Park's contract is to extend until March 2007. It does add that Park herself states that it would be best for the two to part ways so as to allow Yu-Na to grow as a skater.
"More than any other skater, I work really well with Yu-Na. I grow fonder of her every time I see her. But for her to do well, I think it's best that I go. Personally, I want Yu-Na to rise gradually. At the GPF, it would been just fine for her to have won the bronze. Yu-Na has lots of good fortune, and luck, it seems. Frankly, as a former skater, I really really envy Yu-Na. It is really impossible to be part of the top class of figure skaters. I will always be happy that I even had the chance to work closely with this "ice queen."