Rhythmic gymnast Son Yeon-jae has set herself a new goal -- having new and original techniques named after her. While practicing with other national team members at Seoul's Taeneung Training Center on Tuesday she showed reporters several new programs she has been working on since she went to train in Russia late last year.
These incorporated a number of new moves, including one in which Son tosses a club and catches it on the floor with her foot after turning around backwards, and another in which she bounces a ball and catches it in the small of her back while bending backwards.
National team coach Kim Ji-hee said Korea plans to apply to the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) to register the two techniques as Son's original moves.
If Son successfully performs them at the world championships in August and has them recognized as original moves, they will be listed and named after the athlete. This would take her into uncharted territory for a Korean athlete and increase the likelihood of her earning bonus points at international competitions.
Son decided to take up this challenge as competition in the sport intensified after a revised scoring system was introduced in the wake of the 2012 London Olympics. She thought the only way to maintain her standing among the world's top rhythmic gymnasts would be to increase the difficulty level of her techniques and performances.
Son has changed all four of her programs -- hoop, ball, club and ribbon -- for the new season. She will use Puccini's opera "Turandot" for hoop, "Georgina on My Mind" for ball, Patrizio Buanne's "Bella Bella Signorina" for club, and Tchaikovsky's "Swan Lake" for ribbon.
"It's extremely difficult to get original moves recognized in rhythmic gymnastics. But it will be a huge confidence boost if they are registered as my own at the FIG," Son said. "Because I'm not as rhythmical as European athletes, I will focus on more accuracy of execution, variety and expression."
She said she has not made her mind up yet about what costumes she will wear, but let slip that when performing the ribbon to "Swan Lake" she will transform into the Black Swan.
Son will leave for Russia on Sunday to resume her training there and compete in her first competition of the year, the Grand Prix in Moscow, at the end of February.
Meanwhile, the Korea Gymnastics Association announced on Tuesday it has appointed a top Russian coach to succeed Kim. The new coach will arrive here next week.