In the latest instalment of our series looking at life behind the scenes of the Youth Olympic Games, olympic.org speaks with Australia’s golf gold medallist Grace Kim.
The golf course was quite far from the Youth Olympic Village, so we had an early wake-up call at about 5 a.m. every day. We’d have breakfast in the dining hall at 5.30 a.m., where they had the most amazing oranges – they were so juicy! So we’d grab some of them and take them to the course to play a practice round. Once we’d finished there. it wasn’t until 5 or 6 p.m. that we would get back to Village. Once we were back, I’d usually just sit with my roommates and chat. I was fortunate enough to room with some really cool girls, so we'd just talk and talk until it was time to go to sleep, ready to wake up early the next day.
Living in the Youth Olympic Village was like being back at school or something; making lots of new friends, hanging out and doing all the activities they had going on. It was just a great atmosphere to be part of. When I arrived in Buenos Aires, I just couldn’t believe that all this was really happening. The Youth Olympic Games were such a big thing for me to tick off my list for the year, so it was really special to finally get there and get into the Village. It really felt like an Olympic Games, with Aussie flags all around our apartments and everything you needed right on site. It was a really cool place to be and think, “This is my home for the next couple of weeks.”
The night before the final round was the first time I couldn't actually sleep. I kept waking up suddenly and feeling out of breath. I knew I was in contention for the gold medal and it was scary, but also so exciting. At that stage of the Games, Australia hadn’t won a gold medal yet, and I think I was literally dreaming about being the first Aussie to win gold. That ended up making me really nervous, and it was really weird not being able to sleep properly. Ending the day with the gold medal around my neck was just like my dream come true.
After the final round, my phone was blowing up [with so many messages]; it was insane. I got heaps of messages from family members back home and my social media was going crazy; I gained so many followers on Instagram! When we got back to the Youth Olympic Village, it was super cool to walk into the dining hall, with the medal around my neck, with everyone – even athletes from other countries – saying, “Congratulations!” When I sat down with the Aussie team, everyone gathered around and gave us a big round of applause and cheered; it was really special.
I actually had to sit an English exam while I was in Buenos Aires, which was quite a big deal. I took all my books to revise during the Games, and the team even set up a study room for me, but I probably didn’t do as much as I should have done! I was more interested in getting to know all my new friends, so it wasn’t the best preparation; but when I got my results back I thought I did pretty well considering everything. I had to sit the exam at the British Embassy, which was pretty daunting but also quite cool. Winning the gold was definitely more fun, but I’m not sure which was easier – probably the gold!