For the second time in a row, South Korean figure skating sensation Yuna Kim will perform the duties of Ambassador for the Winter Youth Olympic Games.
On 25 February 2010, Yuna Kim melted the hearts of fans present in the Pacific Coliseum in Vancouver and of the millions of spectators watching on television around the world. Displaying grace and subtlety allied with staggering technique, she made history by setting a new record points total of 228.56, a benchmark that still stands six years later. Then just 19, the first-ever South Korean Olympic figure skating champion promptly became a superstar overnight in her homeland.
Having already triumphed at the ISU World Figure Skating Championships in 2009, she finished second in the same competition in 2010 and 2011, but then decided to take a year-long break from the sport. During this time, she lent her support to the Pyeongchang 2018 bid, on behalf of which she delivered a key presentation to members of the IOC in Durban (RSA) on July 2011, the day that the Korean town won the right to stage the XXIII Olympic Winter Games after the first round of voting.
During this same period, the gifted skater also enthusiastically took up the role of Ambassador for the inaugural Winter Youth Olympic Games, in Innsbruck (AUT) in 2012.
Yuna Kim returned to competitive action in 2013, becoming world champion for the second time in London (CAN) and then travelling to Sochi in February 2014 where she won silver.
Quintet of Olympians
Despite hanging up her skates, she has remained extremely active in the Olympic community, taking a seat on the Executive Board of the Pyeongchang Organising Committee for the 2018 Olympic Winter Games (POCOG), of which she is the most high-profile ambassador. In addition, she has agreed to once more act as a role model for the 2016 YOG in Lillehammer.
“It’s a great honour for me to again offer my support to the Youth Olympic Games, but also to be here in Lillehammer for a preview of these incredible venues,” she said on a visit to Norway in August 2015. “Lillehammer is a beautiful town and I think that the athletes are going to love it here. My experience at Innsbruck 2012 gave me the chance to see the smiles on athletes’ faces and the reactions of the fans up close. I’m so happy to be able to do it all again!”
The former figure skater is committed to fully backing the event by sharing her vast experience with the youthful participants, likely covering topics as varied as her memorable gold medal-winning performance at Vancouver 2010 and her renowned ability to manage significant pressure at the highest level.
Yuna Kim will be accompanied in Lillehammer by Alpine skiers Lindsey Vonn and Kjetil Jansrud, ice hockey player Mats Zuccarello and snowboarder Silje Norendal, all fellow Ambassadors. Together, they plan to not only take the next generation of elite athletes under their wings, but also encourage young people all over the world to get active, understand the benefits of adopting a sporting lifestyle and take inspiration from the YOG.