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2013 PyeongChang Special Olympics, Kim Yuna “A festival for all”

Focus News | 2013.01.16 | Lee Yoon-Kyung



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 Special Olympics ambassador, ‘Figure Queen’ Kim Yuna

‘Figure Queen’ Kim Yuna is an ambassador for the ‘2013 PyeongChang Special Olympics’. Even though she is busy preparing for the World figure Skating Championships, she has untiringly worked to promote the event; she participated in the ‘Special Olympics D-100 Walk’, and gave one-on-one lessons to Special Olympics figure skating athletes. Kim worked hard to help host the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics so for the Special Olympics to be held at the same venue has special meaning for her. “I hope that the Special Olympics will help people become interested in finding a way for the disabled and non-disabled to live together in harmony,” said Kim.



Q: The Special Olympics can be considered a precursory event of the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics. Does it make it feel more special because of this fact?

Kim: I’m excited because the Special Olympics is a big event that for PyeongChang before the Games. The Special Olympics is one of the largest sporting events along with the Olympic Games and the Paralympic Games. I am very proud and happy that Korea is hosting such a meaningful event.



Q: I’ve heard that you are working pro bono as a Special Olympics ambassador. Is there a special reason that you became involved in this project? 

Kim: I leaned of the meaning behind the Special Olympics only after I was asked to become an ambassador. I realized how important and meaningful it was to raise awareness that the intellectually disabled were part of our society as well. I wanted to become part of that and help out in any way I could.



Q: What are some of the activities that you have participated in as an ambassador? 

Kim: After I was named an ambassador of the Special Olympics in 2011, I met with members of the committee to discuss how I could be of help in promoting the event. Since there are so many people out there who don’t even know about the Special Olympics, I am focusing on promoting the event itself and the meaning of it. I’ve appeared in the ‘Special Happy Matching’ advertisement, gave one-on-one figure skating lessons to the athletes and so on.



Q: Have you personally met with the athletes that will be participating in the Special Olympics? Is there a particular athlete that left an impression? 

Kim: I met Korean figure skating athletes at the ambassador naming ceremony and during the one-on-one lessons. They were all so pretty and bright. Their passion for skating brought a smile on my face during the lessons. Each time I met them their skating got better and better which made me very proud for them. It is much more difficult and takes a ton of effort for intellectually disabled to train for any sport, compared to the non-disabled. They were fighting social prejudice against the disabled with their passion for sports. Anyone who watches them train will find it impossible not to be moved by them.

 


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▲ Kim Yuna cheering with Special Olympics athletes at the ‘Special Olympics D-100 Walk’ that was held in October last year at the Cheonggye stream. 


Q: You were able to meet athletes of other sports at the ‘Special Olympics D-100 Walk’ that was held on October 21st. What was the event like?

Kim: The walk was held to commemorate the countdown of 100 days before the Special Olympics so I felt like I was at a party. I felt excited. There were a lot of special performances; singing, instruments, and even a flash mob. All of it was very moving and the prefaces were filled with amazing energy. As an ambassador of the Special Olympics, it was very encouraging to see so many people participating in the walk. 



Q: The public interest of the Special Olympics has increased compared to last year. The help of celebrity ambassadors such as you seemed to have helped immensely. Have you noticed the spike in the interest of the event? 

Kim: I think that it is thanks to the collective effort of everyone involved with the Special Olympics that has helped the public become more aware of the event. I just hope that I have been of help. The media has also been active in promoting the event as well and I feel very proud.



Q: So you have anything special planned during the Special Olympics? 

Kim: I think I will be participating at the closing ceremony. Last summer, during a press conference, someone came up with the idea that Michelle Kwan and I could to skate together and the closing ceremony. I am hoping that this plan comes true. I would be honored if Michelle would come to Korea for the closing ceremony.


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Q: Many athletes are training hard for the Special Olympics. Would you like to send them words of support?

Kim: Competing in front of a large audience is always nerve-wreaking. Try not to become too nervous during the competition. Be clam and do your best to share the fruits of all the hard training. And enjoy the experience!



Q: A word to the general public to ask for support for the Special Olympics? 

Kim: The Special Olympics will be held at Pyeongchang on January 29th to February 5th. The Special Olympics is not an event solely for the intellectually disabled. The athletes, their families, volunteers and sponsors all work together to build the event together.  It is a competition, yet also a festival for all. I wish that everyone will support the Special Olympics. And I hope that the event will become an opportunity for the disabled and the non-disabled to understand each other, and that people will become interested in coming up with ideas for making our society into a place where we can live together in harmony.




2013 PyeongChang Special Olympics Opening Ceremony ㅣ Special Speech (Yuna KIM & Aung San Suu Kyi) 




◆ Translation ⓒ abyss / FEVERSKATING 

◆ The Original : feverskating_com.jpg[Focus News] http://bit.ly/Xd8pM5  


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