December 12, 2016 10:02
Teenage figure skater Cha Jun-hwan finished third in the men's singles event at the International Skating Union Junior Grand Prix Final in Marseille, France on Saturday. He earned an overall score of 225.55 points -- 154.70 points in the free program and 71.85 in the short program.
His medal is the first ever by a Korean male skater at this event, and the first by any Korean since Kim Yu-na won the gold medal at the age of 15 in 2005.
Cha made an error on one of his eight jump attempts in the free program, but otherwise maintained his composure and performed beautifully, landing a triple lutz-triple toe loop combination and a clean quadruple salchow to the theme from the movie "Il Postino."
A rising star in the world of figure skating, Cha is following the trail blazed by Olympic gold medalist Kim. Since he started training under Kim's former coach Brian Orser last year, he has developed by leaps and bounds. Kim's long-time choreographer David Wilson is creating programs for Cha.
Cha's expressiveness and long-limbed elegance on the ice draw frequent comparisons to Kim. His previous career as a child model has also been advantage in terms of presentation.
Known for his perseverance and dedication, Cha trains for six hours every day and will practice a motion repeatedly until he can perform it perfectly.
"If I'm able to compete in the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics next year, I want to impress the spectators and enjoy the moment with them," Cha said in a recent interview.
Cha also has time on his side; he is a couple of years younger than his major rivals, Dmitri Aliev and Alexander Samarin of Russia, who won gold and silver respectively on Saturday.
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