Ex-Figure Skater Park So-youn Finds New Path as Circus Performer

  • By Choi Soo-hyun

    January 16, 2020 10:47

    Park So-youn

    Former figure skater Park So-youn has found a new career path as a circus performer.

    Park, once considered one of Korea's top prospects in the sport, garnered attention as she competed at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi along with figure skating star Kim Yu-na, although Park finished 21st due to the pressure of the event.

    But her promising career was suddenly derailed by an injury to her left ankle in 2016.

    She underwent surgery several times, refusing to give up on her dream of competing at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang. Despite her determination, she failed to do so and eventually retired in June last year.

    Then she joined Cirque du Soleil, a Montreal-based circus troupe. After about three months of training there, she has been performing as the female lead for the troupe's new ice show, "Axel," touring North American cities since September last year.

    Established by street performers in 1984, Cirque du Soleil has held shows in about 450 cities around the world, drawing a total audience of nearly 200 million.

    Park So-youn performs in Cirque du Soleil's ice show "Axel" in this undated photo from the Michigan Korean Weekly.

    "I grew up watching and admiring Kim, who helped me to set a goal as a figure skater," Park said. "Like she did, I'd also like to be a role model for younger skaters somehow, maybe in a different way [from how Kim inspired others]."

    "In the world of sports and competition, only the winner is remembered and the rest are easily forgotten. But I want to tell them there is sunshine after the rain," she said in a recent interview with media there.

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