March 30, 2010 13:11
The greatest cause of stress for 19-year-old figure skating star Kim Yu-na is the constant tension and anxiety from one competition after another. This is why she had hard time focusing on skating after winning gold in the Olympics last month, and is weighing her options very carefully.
Relief was evident in Kim's face after she completed a dramatic season with the gala exhibition at the ISU World Figure Skating Championships in Turin, Italy, on Monday.
Q: Despite winning silver, the world championships didn't seem easy for you.
A: I decided to compete in the world championships after the first ISU Grand Prix event, the Trophée Eric Bompard, in Paris in October last year. At the time, I was full of confidence (Kim won the event with a combined score of 210.03 points), and I thought the world championships wouldn't be a big deal after the Olympics. I didn't know the post-Olympic period would be this difficult. I had lots of regrets because it was so hard.
Q: What thoughts came to your mind while preparing for the world championships?
A: I was so afraid of the fact that I had to compete again and feel the pressure and tensions of competition. I wasn't ready for this competition at all, either physically or mentally. I also thought, "What if I don't do well after I’ve become an Olympic champion through years of very hard work?”
Q: Now everyone is curious about your future after the 2009/2010 season.
A: I have a choice between retiring and turning professional or remaining in competition. If I choose to continue to compete, it would be because I think I’ll be able to maintain my current level. If I choose to quit, I think it'll be because I'm tired of the tremendous pressure and stress I get from competition. If I'm not an athlete, I think I’d be doing ice shows and go to university.
Q: What have you gained and lost from skating to date?
A: What I've lost is school life, including the fact that I wasn’t able to make a lot of friends. But a big achievement would be that I reached the top of the world at a young age in what I do best.
Q: What do you want to do most when you go back to Korea?
A: I don't think I'll have time to get a driver's license. Traveling would be unrealistic as well. I just want to eat delicious food without fear that my stomach will explode. There isn't any specific thing that I'm dying to eat, but I just want to eat freely. I can't eat much normally because when I gain weight, my face looks so puffy that I can't even look at my pictures online.
Q: Are you returning to university?
A: I'd love to go to school, but to be frank, it's difficult. Even when I just stopped by to say hello last year, there were so many people gathering around to see me, so I'm a bit afraid. If I get a chance, I’d like to study sports psychology.
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