With less than a year to go until the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018, Korea’s promising cross-country skier Magnus Kim – a double gold medallist at Lillehammer 2016 – shares his thoughts on the Youth Olympic Games and his hopes of Olympic glory on home soil.
Republic of Korea’s Magnus Kim was the star of the men’s cross-country skiing competition at the Winter Youth Olympic Games Lillehammer 2016, making it to the podium in every event he contested and winning two YOG titles.
His victory in the all-new cross free event secured Korea’s first Olympic medal in cross-country skiing, while he was also crowned YOG champion in the 10km free and won a silver medal in the sprint, making him one of the most successful athletes in Lillehammer.
The YOG built confidence and I started realising that I could become a really good athlete. It gave me trust and belief.Magnus Kim Republic of Korea
Born to a Korean mother and a Norwegian father, Magnus spent part of his childhood in Norway and enjoyed superb support from the local crowds. After enjoying success on the senior stage at this year’s Asian Winter Games in Sapporo – where he won gold in the sprint event – Magnus is now hoping for even greater support on home soil at next year’s Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018. Here, he explains how his YOG experiences have helped him so far.
Q. How do you reflect on your experiences at the Winter Youth Olympic Games Lillehammer 2016?
A. During the Youth Olympic Games, I made some great memories, had some great experiences, and got a taste of what it feels like to participate in an Olympic Winter Games. There were so many opportunities for making new friends from all over the world. I’m sure it will help me in the future, when I need to work with people from other countries.
Q. What is your favourite memory from Lillehammer?
A. It is so difficult to choose one, but I would say the moment I stepped into my room after winning my first gold medal and my roommate [Bae Jun-woo] went crazy; he was so happy for my win. We got to know each other during the YOG and we became really good friends. He was an Alpine skier.
Q. How has your life changed since the YOG?
A. A lot more people know who I am now. A Korean broadcasting channel even made a documentary about me. People do sometimes recognise me, and it’s weird! Besides that, I train and work hard as I have always done, and will always do.
Q. What have been the main highlights of your career since Lillehammer?
A. Right after the YOG, I went over to compete in the FIS Junior World Championships in Romania. Despite having to compete against athletes who were two years older than me, I won two silver medals. I rank those achievements as highly as the ones I had in Lillehammer. This season, I have competed at the Asian Winter Games in Sapporo, and won one gold medal, one silver and one bronze. It was important for me since it’s just one year to go to the Olympic Winter Games, and I wanted to show the people in Korea what I could do.
Q. How have your experiences in Lillehammer at the 2016 Winter YOG helped you in your career so far?
A. For me, the YOG built confidence and I started realising that I could become a really good athlete. It gave me trust and belief [in myself]. I will carry that throughout my career, and it will help me whenever I’m having tough times.
Q. What are your main targets in the coming seasons?
A. My target for this season was the Asian Games, so I’m really happy it went well. My target in the coming seasons is to reach a good level in senior events – being able to make the podium in World Cups, World Championships and the Olympic Winter Games. PyeongChang 2018 is for sure my main target.
Q. How do you feel about PyeongChang 2018? What will it mean to you to compete there?
A. It will be a very special Olympic Winter Games for me, since I will be competing in one of my two home countries. I also hope the Games will bring enthusiasm to winter sports in Korea, and also Asia in general.
Q. What would be your advice to young skiers who might be hoping to compete in the YOG one day?
A. Have fun! The YOG are such a great event and give athletes the opportunity to meet new friends from all over the world. For me, the YOG gave me joy when I achieved my results, but I found the same amount of joy meeting new friends. I will keep those memories forever.