You Young will be just 17 years old when the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 get underway, but she is on course to be one of the finest figure skaters on the ice when it comes around. After picking up a gold medal at Lausanne 2020, she sat down with olympic.org to discuss her experience and hopes for the future.
As one of the big gold-medal hopefuls going into the Winter Youth Olympic Games (YOG) Lausanne 2020, You Young could have easily buckled under the pressure. But the figure skater from the Republic of Korea looked at ease and flourished on the Swiss ice, storming to victory.
You finished 13 points clear of the silver medal position, an achievement made even more impressive by the fact that she flew out the day after a domestic national competition and had just one day of rest before appearing on the rink in Lausanne.
Although she was ecstatic about her gold medal at the YOG, her attention is already turning to future tournaments, including Beijing 2022.
How was your experience of the Winter YOG Lausanne 2020?
“I enjoyed it very much! I carried the flag for the Republic of Korea at the YOG, which has a lot of meaning to me. I hope I can also do it at Beijing 2022 if I have good results until then. I also had so much fun after the competition with my team-mates from Korea. I was sad to leave, but I’m really happy to have competed in Lausanne.”
Why did you begin learning figure skating when you were younger?
“My mum actually watched Yuna Kim when she was younger, and then I started watching the Olympic Winter Games Vancouver 2010. I remember because she won a gold medal and it was really big in Korea and we watched all of her routines. At the time, we were living in Singapore, but Singapore only has one rink because it’s such a small country, so we went there often and because it was so hot there – I liked the cold and it was good to skate there in hot weather.”
What did you think of the Youth Olympic Village?
“I think it was a very good house for athletes. It was a comfortable way to go to the competition areas. And because it was [an international competition] like the Olympics we could meet new athletes so there was a really good chance to make friends there, which I did.”
How does the YOG compare to anything that you’ve done in the past?
“The competition is organised by the IOC and has the feeling of the Olympics. I think it was good for me to see all the young skaters who also want to go to the Olympics one day when they’re older. But now, when they’re young, they could come to the YOG, so it was a really great competition to be at.”
Did you meet anyone who inspired you at the YOG?
“Yes, I did! I met [Canadian Olympic champion] Patrick Chan. He gave me a Yodli mascot at the ceremony and it was funny… He said that I was an amazing skater, which I was very thankful to hear, and he’s also an amazing skater and I always watched him skate. It had great meaning that he was at the YOG in Lausanne, and it made all the figure skaters really happy.”
What are your hopes for the future?
“For now, I just really want to have a clean programme for my next two competitions, keep landing my triple axels, and make 210 points more!”