August 02, 2011 07:04
Her near-flawless presentation earlier this month in South Africa turned Rah Seung-yun, better known as Theresa Rah, into a household name in Korea. As she explained to IOC officials why Pyeongchang merited being awarded the 2018 Winter Olympics, the bid committee spokeswoman stayed cool under pressure and gave onlookers a positive impression of the country.
She won over Netizens here with her suave looks, sartorial elegance and fluent English skills, making the 38-year-old one of the top entries on local search engines. For some, she came to symbolize the perfect working woman.
However three weeks later, she is still coming to terms with her newfound fame, and feels almost honor-bound to downplay her importance and highlight her flaws. Ever the perfectionist, she described her performance in Durban as far from error-free.
"People think my presentation was perfect, but I made several mistakes," she said, ranking herself only 8.5 points out of 10. "I thought I was fully prepared, but when I was about to start the presentation, my mouth dried up and I got tongue-tied. If you look closely, you will see that I stumbled over the name of an IOC member early on."
However she is not complaining about her rising star status. While many celebrities shy away from the glare of publicity, Rah seems mature and experienced enough to be able to embrace it.
"After Pyeongchang was chosen to host the Winter Olympics, I was surprised that my name became a popular entry on portal sites," she said. "Many people started to recognize me on the street, and it felt good."
She said the biggest problem in convincing the IOC to vote for Korea was branding the country in voters' minds, as many still knew little about it. "This became a big barrier," said Rah. "Some of them could not tell the difference between Pyeongchang and Pyongyang."
Rah remained silent on her future plans, but said she has received a slew of job offers that she has had to refuse because she remains committed to her current position until early October, when the Pyeongchang Olympic organizing committee is expected to be formed.
"I've received quite a few requests for presentation training and a number of job offers, but I can't accept them because my job as a spokesperson is not yet finished," she said.
As Rah's name has become a byword for a successful career woman, is she really perfect, or does she have any personal shortcomings? "I'm not very good at expressing my emotions or taking care of other people," she said. "These are some of my flaws."
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