Our Last Present to Kim YunaMBC News Inside | 2013.12.18 | Min Byeong-HoKim Yuna’s final programs as a competitive skater have been revealed. Expectations were high as the interest surrounding her programs. Many Korean fans flew all the way to Croatia to see her with their own two eyes. Yuna lived up to their expectations, winning the gold with ease and thus increasing the possibility of winning another Olympic gold medal. I’m sure that people who watched Yuna skate live on TV or through the news know these facts very well. However the 2580 team was quite curious about what Yuna was thinking in the inside. So we asked Yuna a few questions and were able to receive candid answers.It seems that Yuna was immensely nervous at the Golden Spin. It was not only the debut of her Olympic programs, but also her first competition after recovering from her injuries, so there must have been a lot of pressure to put on a good performance. Even though Yuna seems strong on the outside she is only human. When I asked her about the biggest misconception about her, Yuna replied people saying, 'Yuna is strong at competitions. So she will do a good job this time too.' She said that she felt truly lonely when people would respond 'It's so not like you' when she told them that she was having a tough time. "There are times when I want to be comforted but it’s not that easy," she said. I felt so sorry for her when I heard that.I was curious about Yuna's dreams for the future so I asked her where she saw herself 10 years from now. "I don't know what I will be doing then, but I guess that I will be under less public attention..." said Yuna. One could deduce that the intense attention that she was under was burdening.Yuna also expressed that training was physically difficult. "I heard at the hospital that when women pass the 18 year mark they start to age rapidly. It has become more difficult to bring up my stamina to a certain level even though I work hard and it takes longer to recover from injuries, so it's really difficult physically,” she said. When I heard the 'old' from Yuna, who seemed would remain forever young, it was rather startling. These were words that you would not hear from a regular 24 year old. However to Yuna, who had spent 17 years skating, 24 felt old. A sense of sadness washed over me thinking how much this young skater had to go through both physically and psychologically to give joy and to touch the hearts of so many people.Nonetheless, Yuna did not lose her trademark optimistic sprit while she was talking about such heavy subjects. Rather, she seemed calmer and happier. "Even though I've lost the chance to experience a lot of things as living as a skater and a star, I consider myself a happy skater. I mean, everyone has a few worries of thier own that they life with," said Yuna after winning the World Championships early this year.I remember when I first started to write about Yuna in 2007. She has just started her lonely overseas life in Toronto, Canada because of the unfit training environment in Korea. The 18 year old girl who loved the TV show 'Infinite Challenge' and baked goods grew up to become the best skater in the world. She is the only female single skater in the world who has medaled in every international competition she entered and won gold with a world record score at her first Olympics. At the 2013 World Championships which was held early this year, she won three spots for Korea by winning the gold medal, giving fellow young skaters Kim Hae-Jin and Park So-Yeon the chance to experience the Games. When you think about the harsh training environment in Korea, it's something that would happen only in our dreams.However Yuna has not changed despite all of her achievements. She still remains humble and down to earth. She continues to train daily. At the Golden Spin, the Croatian media commented that, "Your popularity is more like that of a rock star than an athlete." Yuna answered by saying that "I did not start to skate to become famous. I skated to fulfill my dreams as an athlete. If I had become swayed by all the attention, other problems can occur so I think that fame and attention are not good for training." Yuna's coach, Shin Hye-Sook described Yuna as "a gifted athlete, but an athlete who works harder than an athlete who is not gifted," and said that she feels that Yuna retiring is a pity when she watches Yuna train. Of course it meant that Yuna still possesses the world's best technical ability but it felt like she meant it was a pity to see Yuna leave the sport.When Yuna's exhibition program music 'Imagine' filled the arena in Zagreb, there was a strange air filling the rink. It felt as if the final journey of Yuna as a competitive skater had started and the audience was feeling that in their heavy hearts. Yuna has decided to skate at the Korean Nationals next month, her final competition before the Sochi Olympics. She is currently training hard at the Taerung Center every day. Then what does Yuna need now? What did you think that she needs after watching her compete at the Golden Spin? Of course, winning consecutive gold medals at the Olympics is important. It would be meaningful to end her career with gold after all her hard work. But jumps and scores are not the things that are important now. Our last present that we can give to Yuna, who has given us so much joy and happiness over the years, is to quietly support her instead of burdening her with our expectations - so that our figure skating queen can enjoy her last stage.■ The Original ⓒ [MBC News Inside] http://bit.ly/1fD6r35■ Translation ⓒ abyss / FEVERSKATING
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