My father-in-law does not watch figure skating on TV. Every time a skater lunges into a jump, his body jerks and shrinks into a ball, his eyes immediately squeezed shut with fear of seeing a fall on the ice. Too exhausting, he finds. Had he watched Yu-na Kim’s gold medal performance at the World Figure Skating Championships in London, Ontario, I wonder, if his fears would have been reinforced from the risk taking routine or, conversely, overpowered by the sheer beauty of it.
Nicknamed “Queen Yu-na” in Korea, the Olympic gold medalist’s long program on March 16th was simply as good as it gets. Her routine to music from Les Miserables, started with a Triple Lutz-triple toe and continued with many more sensational triple jumps and dreamlike sequences of steps. In the middle of the program just after her double axel-double toe, a British newscaster exclaimed in awe, “you can call the competition off right now” and admitted to getting a lump in his throat watching her performance. He wasn’t the only one. The Globe and Mail’s Rachel Brady wrote Kim “sent shivers down the spine with her poise.”
Then the night revealed yet another surprise from an unlikely source. The Amabile Choirs of London sang the Korean national anthem live at the medal ceremony. It is unusual enough to have the gold medalist’s national anthem sung live at this type of event but even more surprising was that the Korean words sung by the the choir sounded as flawless as Yu-na Kim’s performance on the ice. The choir’s website was flooded with praises and expressions of appreciation from Koreans around the world on their performance. Especially considering the amount of time they would have had to devote to practicing all the national anthems of the predicted winners’ represented countries in each of the four competition categories, the warm feedback was very well deserved indeed.
Both Yu-na Kim’s and the Amabile Choir’s performances can be viewed from the YouTube clip above.