Skating star Kim feels nerves of bid presentation
Kim Yu-na has performed in front of thousands of spectators and millions of TV viewers on the biggest stages in figure skating. Yet, the reigning Olympic champion says she has never felt nerves or pressure like this.
The 20-year-old South Korean will be addressing a roomful of International Olympic Committee members on Wednesday, helping to pitch Pyeongchang's bid for the 2018 Winter Games.
''I'm more nervous than when I was competing in the Olympics,'' Kim said in an interview Tuesday after a rehearsal for the presentation. ''I didn't have much time to practice. I'm afraid of making mistakes, but a lot of people are helping me. I'm trying my best.''
Kim, who won the gold medal at last year's Vancouver Games, will be making her first official appearance in a presentation for the Korean bid.
''This is not a personal competition. It will be for the whole country,'' she said. ''There is a lot more pressure on my shoulders.''
Pyeongchang is competing against Munich and Annecy, France. Each bid team will spend 90 minutes with the IOC members in a closed-door session at the Olympic Museum.
The presentations are a crucial stage in the race, which will culminate with an IOC vote in Durban, South Africa, on July 6.
Kim is not the only figure skating star featured in the bid contest. German great Katarina Witt, a two-time Olympic champion, is chairwoman of Munich's candidacy.
''I met her in Vancouver and said 'Hi' to her,'' Kim said. ''I haven't seen her here yet but I'll be so excited when I do. I watched her skate on TV, video and the Internet. She was a role model for all the figure skaters.''
Kim, who finished second in this year's world championships in Moscow behind Japan's Miki Ando, arrived in Lausanne on Sunday and has been going through a series of rehearsals with the rest of the bid team.
Pyeongchang is bidding for a third consecutive time after close defeats for the 2010 and 2014 Games. Kim said she would have wished to skate in front of her home fans in 2010, but is now determined to help bring the games to Korea in 2018 so that young skaters in her native country will get the chance.
''It's been a long time since the Winter Games were held in Asia,'' she said. ''More and more people are interested in winter sports. A lot of young athletes in Korea are waiting for this.''
The Winter Olympics have been held twice in Asia, both times in Japan (Sapporo 1972 and Nagano 1998).
While Kim may no longer be skating competitively in 2018, she sees herself as a role model for others.
''I can inspire young athletes in Asia,'' she said. ''I was inspired by Michelle Kwan in Nagano. I had a dream to be in the Olympics and I achieved my dreams. I hope young skaters and athletes will also be inspired.''
Kim said she also plans to travel to Durban for the final presentation and vote. After that, she will begin working on her skating program for next season with coach Peter Oppegard.
Stephen Wilson can be reached at http://twitter.com/stevewilsonap