Yuna Kim: "Please remember me as a skater named Yuna Kim, not by a medal"Sportsseoul | Hyun-Gi Kim | 2014.02.21
"Let's think that the gold medal went to someone who was more desperate for it."
In contrast to the outburst of anger from the public over the controversial judging at the Sochi Olympics which ended with a silver medal for the reigning Olympic Champion, Yuna Kim reiterated multiple times, "I have no regrets. I feel free now." She looked back on the 19 years of her skating life at the press conference held in the Russia Sochi Korea House.
The following is a Q&A from Yuna Kim.
Q: How does it feel to be done?
▶YUNA: I feel free now that it’s over. I’m glad I was able to pull off two clean programs.
Q: Did you get to see your mom after everything was done yesterday?
▶YUNA: The off-site lodging where we were originally staying wasn't that great so I went into the athlete dormitories. I didn’t get to see her because of that, but we exchanged texts afterwards and she said, “There’s a lot of talk going on about the scores, but it’s all over now so don’t be upset over it and let’s just enjoy the freedom now.” And in regards to the color of the medal, she said, “Let's think that the gold medal went to someone who was more desperate for it.”
Q: Were you able to sleep well?
▶YUNA: I went to bed late since there were interviews and doping tests after the competition. It was hard to believe that everything had completely come to an end. It’s incredibly liberating and I feel at peace.
Q: Your scores fell behind, but do you think you fell behind in terms of skills and ability as well?
▶YUNA: I didn’t really get the chance to watch the performances of other skaters yet. It doesn’t make a difference whether I agree (with the decision) or not. I have absolutely no regrets. It’s all done now. I have no opinions on it.
Q: There’s an outrage in Korea over the judgement in Korea.
▶YUNA: People talked about some of the unfairness in the judging before. The people around me were always more upset than I was. I think it’s drawing more attention now since the Olympics is such a big event. As for me, I really don’t think I have any feelings left for that. I’ve been saying this again and again, but I’m just happy it’s all over. I did well and I’m satisfied with that.
Q: What was running through your head after the free skate?
▶YUNA: The thought that it was all finally over was the first. I was nervous going into it and it was exhausting. I thought to myself, ‘I’m so tired,‘ and, ‘It’s over now.’
Q: When the scores came out, there wasn’t much change in your facial expression. Did you know that your scores were going to be low?
▶YUNA: I wasn’t expecting a good one. I kind of figured after the short program. The higher your expectations, the bigger the disappointment. There were a lot of times when no matter how well I skated, the scores didn’t come out as expected. I tend to think a lot before competitions. I think about getting lower-than-expected scores and scenarios where I would place second. So when the scores came out, I wasn’t surprised. I wasn’t there to win the gold medal, so I was okay.
Q: Did you get to talk to Sotnikova or Koster?
▶YUNA: We didn’t get to talk. We just congratulated each other after the competition.
Q: Do you feel free because you’re liberated from the pressure now?
▶YUNA: I thought it was the end when the Vancouver Olympics ended, but somehow, I've come this far. There’s a lot of different reasons as to why I feel free. For one, there’s no fear of competition now. The process of training for competitions after the Vancouver Olympics was extremely difficult physically. I no longer had a clear goal so it was hard for me to feel motivated. And then there’s the fact that I’m now free from all the restraints that athletes have.*Click - Note: Over the course of the past few days, we've seen several news articles and media outlets that belie Yuna's words and her true intentions.
Q: What do you want to do the most right now?
▶YUNA: More than what I want to do the most, the fact that all this is over and that I can put down all the weight in of itself makes me really happy.
Q: Did you look at the scores of the other ladies before you performed?
▶YUNA: I had a general idea. I heard that everyone had made a minor mistake but that the scores were high overall. I wasn’t too concerned. The end of was near, and it was going to be my last, so I didn’t feel any pressure. The practice session had gone well. I was really nervous before the short program and I was worried I wouldn’t be able to to do well during the competition, but during the free skate, I felt like everything I had done during practice would come through.
Q: What’s the secret behind your nerves of steel?
▶YUNA: I don’t think I have any secrets, but I do think I was born with that kind of personality. I look at skaters around me and we’re all so different. There are skaters who are talented but never quite get to show everything that they have during the competitions due to nerves. I always get nervous too, but I don’t think I get as anxious as the other skaters. There’s no secret behind to this; I think I was just born with this kind of personality and so that’s why I think I was fit to be an athlete.
Q: Sotnikova walked out during the press conference after the free skate.
▶YUNA: It was a press conference where the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd skaters were together. Usually, we all walk out together when it’s over. It was the last question of the conference, and the question had come to me. But Sotnikovia went ahead and walk out. She had already been there and had started answering questions before I got there. She still had her dress on. And when she got up and left during the middle of my answer, I just thought, “What’s going on?” It’s up to the skater to do what they want to do.
Q: You didn’t show much emotion even after the competition.
▶YUNA: I think it was because I wasn’t thinking about the gold medal. And I couldn’t be downcast because I had won the silver medal.
Q: What are your plans for the future?
▶YUNA: I need to take some time recuperating now that it’s all over. I’m not going to waste my time away either. I think there will be a lot going on. I’m going to have to take my time thinking about how I’m going to live the rest of my life.
Q: What’s the most memorable competition of your career?
▶YUNA: I would say it would be my last skate yesterday. But it’s hard to just choose one. I’ve been competing for so long.
Q: Then what if you had to pick three.
▶YUNA: Yesterday and Vancouver.. Actually, I don’t want to choose.
Q: Is there anything you’ve been wanting to do but couldn’t do?
▶YUNA: If there are restrictions as an athlete, eating would be one. Before, I was always worried about gaining weight. But now, it’s hard for me to gain weight and gain muscle, so there were a lot of times when I had to eat meat out of necessity. Oh, there’s also that--whenever I felt like my body was off, whether I was taking a break or training, I became really sensitive. I was very sensitive to the smallest changes when it came to my body and injuries. It’s not anything too big, but there were a lot of small, trivial things that I had to be worried about and that stressed me out a lot.
Q: What does figure skating mean to you and what did you learn from it?
▶YUNA: We're inseparable no matter how hard I try. While training for this event, I realized that the results matter, but the process of it all is even more important. On the surface, the results might be the only thing that shows through, but I realized that there’s much more to learn and understand from the steps leading up to it.
Q: What kind of skater do you want to be remembered as?
▶YUNA: More than being remembered as the Vancouver gold medalist or the Sochi silver medalist, I just want people to remember that there was once a skater named Yuna Kim.
■ The Original ⓒ [Sportsseoul] http://bit.ly/1fk1dfw
■ Translation ⓒ kindred / FEVERSKATING
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