A couple of weeks ago, taking the chance after Kim Yuna’s win in the Winter Olympic Games, we went skating to the ice rink in Jamsil. This ice rink is inside Lotte World, but you do not have to pay the entrance to the theme park if you only want to skate. You can skate as much as you want (there is no time limit) for 13,000 won. Wearing gloves is mandatory (I guess they don’t want cut fingers on the ice rink…), but you can also buy them there for 1,000 won.
There were two things that surprised me. One is that there were many children skating, and many of them taking speed skating (the boys) or figure skating (the girls) lessons.
View of the ice rink right after being cleaned-up (every hour more or less everybody has to go out during 15 minutes so that the ice rink can be cleared of scratches in the ice).
People skating. On the left you can see the children learning how to speed-skate.
The second thing that I saw was that there were many couples wearing “couple t-shirts”, a trend in some Asian countries by which couples wear the same clothes to show their love in public. This is not just limited to t-shirts (or hoodies in this case). You can also find “couple pants”, couple shoes, couple cups… and some couple even dress totally the same, from shoes to cup…
South Korea’s performance these Winter Olympics has been more than outstanding (5th position with 6 gold medals, 6 silvers, and 2 bronzes). But among all the Korean medalists, the true protagonists has been this young skater, whom at her 19 years of age has already won anything you can win in the world of figure skating. Specially these Olympic Games she has set new world records for both the short and long programs. I can say that during both performances, which were broadcast here in Seoul around 1 PM, everybody at my company stopped working to watch the performance on their cellphones, and some people could not even avoid dropping some tears when Yuna started crying after her second performance, knowing that she is making history in figure skating.
Even before the Olympics it was already difficult to take a walk in Seoul and not see Kim Yuna in some commercial… she’s everywhere, every corner of Seoul, in the streets, in the subway, at the malls, she’s the official image for makes such as Nike, Samsung, Hyundai… I imagine after the games she will become even more a social phenomenon here in Korea.
Nike commercial with Kim Yuna: “200 points don’t surprise me at all”. Yuna was the first skater to score more than 200 points. She won the Olympics smashing her own record up to 228.56 points.
Yuna on a cellphone advertisement for Samsung (in Korea they are sold under the brand Anycall).
Television commercial for Anycall.
Yuna started being known when in the 2004-2005, at only 14 years-old she got the silver medal for Korea (first international medal for Korea in all its figure skating history) at the Junior Grand Prix Final, just behind the Japanese Mao Asada, who has been her biggest rival since then. Precisely Mao Asada has won the silver medal after Kim Yuna on the Olympics.
Yuna at 14 years of age.
Not only is Yuna good at skating. Music seems to also attract Yuna’s attention. She has already appeared on TV several times singing songs by her favorite Korean artists, and she does not hesitate to sing, either in a noraebang like most Korean teenagers, or at the galas of the competitions where she participates. What’s clear is that she was born to be a star.