Exclusive: Kim admits she may not compete even if Pyeongchang win 2018 Olympics
Tuesday, 17 May 2011
May 17 - Olympic figure skating champion Kim Yu-Na has vowed do everything she can to help Pyeongchang win its bid to host the 2018 Winter Olympics and Paralympics but admitted that if they are successful she does not know whether she will compete there herself.
The 20-year-old Korean is leading the Pyeongchang delegation that is due to join rivals Annecy and Munich here tomorrow in making a 45-minute technical presentation to up to 60 members of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
"I think I am more nervous about this than about competing in the Olympics," Kim told insidethegames.
"I don't want to let anyone down."
This is Pyeongchang's third consecutive bid to host the Winter Olympics and Kim was a promising 13-year-old skater when they narrowly missed out on being awarded the 2010 Games, which were instead given to Vancouver.
"I was disappointed because I had dreamed of winning a gold medal before my own fans," said Kim, whose earliest Olympic memory is of America's Michelle Kwan winning the silver at the 1998 Games in Nagano, the last time the event was staged in Asia.
"It was nice to win in Vancouver - but would have been nicer in Korea."
If Pyeongchang win this latest bid then that dream could be revived but Kim is unsure whether she will still be skating in Olympic-style competition then, even though she will tell IOC members tomorrow that a Games in Pyeongchang has the potential to inspire a new generation of young Asian talent in the same way it did her 13 years ago.
"Maybe if Pyeongchang wins then I will carry on until then - I don't know.
"But it would be more likely if the Olympics are in Pyeongchang."
Kim would be 27 by 2018, the same as the Ukraine's Oksana Baiul when she won the Olympic gold medal at Lillehammer in 1994, making her the oldest female skating gold medallist in history.
Even Katarina Witt, who competed under the strict East German state system, turned professional at the age of 23 after winning the second of her Olympic gold medals at Calgary in 1988 - more than two years before Kim was even born.
Witt is, of course, now one of German's most popular sports personalities and the figurehead of Munich's bid for 2018.
Kim and Witt two have met only once, briefly at Vancouver last year.
"She said, 'Hi' and 'well done'," said Kim.
"I'm looking forward to meeting her properly here."
The fact two such iconic skating names are on opposing sides here has added an interesting subtext to the presentations but Kim has nothing but praise for her older rival.
"I have watched her skate on videos and the internet," said Kim.
"It will be great honour to meet her and is something I'm looking forward to."
May 2011: Kim to lead Pyeongchang 2018 delegation in Lausanne it is confirmed
March 2011: Kim misses chance to promote Pyeongchang at SportAccord after World Championships re-arranged
March 2011: Kim Yu-Na to make first public appearance for Pyeongchang 2018