Former Olympic figure skating champion Yuna Kim is one of the most famous people in the Republic of Korea. She is sure to be one of the faces of PyeongChang 2018, even though she isn’t competing. Here’s why…
Comaneci of the ice
Kim’s performance at the Olympic Winter Games Vancouver 2010 has been described as the sport’s ‘Comaneci moment’, after the Romanian gymnast who was awarded a perfect 10 score at the Olympic Summer Games Montreal 1976. Kim’s overall score of 228.56 was the highest ever in the women’s competition, leaving rivals in her wake. One journalist said she showed “the sophistication of a prima ballerina and the ruthlessness of an athlete.”
Grand Slam pioneer
Kim is the only skater to have won the sport’s ‘Grand Slam’, of Olympic Games, World Grand Prix Final, Four Continents Championships and World Championships. She controversially missed out on a second gold at the Olympic Winter Games Sochi 2014 to Russian Adelina Sotnikova, with some questioning the scoring, and retired shortly after.
Transcending the sport
The figure skater has become an icon in the Republic of Korea, transcending her sport in a way that football superstar David Beckham has in England. Kim has written two books, performed with K-Pop stars, appeared on the front cover of international magazines and hosted her own TV show called Kiss and Cry.
Rich talent brings wealth
Forbes Magazine reported that Kim was in the top 10 of the highest-paid female athletes in the world in 2013. She was also the highest-earning athlete at both Vancouver 2010 and Sochi 2014.
A key role for home Games
Kim played a key role in PyeongChang’s bid for the 2018 Games, speaking during their successful presentation to the IOC. Many said her presence – like that of Beckham for the London 2012 bid team – had played a key role in securing the Games for the South Korean city. She is also an ambassador for PyeongChang 2018 and carried the torch after it arrived in the country (above). You can expect her to be one of the faces of the Games, appearing at events, on television and with her famous smile adorning posters and publications.