[Exclusive] "Gold. Love. All Yuna's"…Kim Yuna Falls in Love
Kim Yuna has fallen in love. The lucky guy is ice hockey player Kim Won-jung. He is the national team’s undisputed best player, a graduate of Korea University who played for Anyang Halla. For now he plays in the ice hockey team of the Korea Armed Forces Athletic Corps (Daemyung Sangmu).
[op is heartbroken]
[DispatchㅣArticle by 임근호·송은주·서보현] Taereung National Training Center does not have a separate ice rink for figure skating. The figure skaters share the space with short track speed skaters, hockey players and others by splitting the time. Figure skaters get the rink from 10 to 1, short track skaters from 1 to 3, and the hockey team from 3 to 6.
Although Korea is the country of figure skating’s current golden girl, the training environment leaves much to be desired. If there is a silver lining, it’s in often getting to see the person one cares about. That is the case for Kim Yuna and Kim Won-jung, who were each other’s strength as they rooted for each other.
Kim Yuna has fallen in love. The lucky guy is ice hockey player Kim Won-jung. He is the national team’s undisputed best player, a graduate of Korea University who played for Anyang Halla. For now he plays in the ice hockey team of the Korea Armed Forces Athletic Corps (Daemyung Sangmu). He was the strongest contributor in getting his team into the Asia League Ice Hockey PO in 2013 and 2014, and was the star of the 2013 Ice Hockey championship win.
The ice wasn’t such a cold place when it came to love.
In July of 2012, Kim Yuna announced that she would return for one more Olympics game. She stepped up her game since her last great victory in Vancouver. It was an important decision for Korea’s figure skating future, a resolve made for the younger figure skaters who were heading for Sochi. And so Kim Yuna returned to Taereung Training Center in two years.
She was called the “Queen,” was seen as a “conqueror” on ice. But going back to the start to take on that challenge again was painful. Even in constant burning movement, she kept her head cool.
Her oasis was sunbae Kim Won-jung.
Dispatch covered Kim Yuna’s last moments to the Olympics, with a record of six months’ training starting in August of last year. It also captured Kim Yuna’s dates with Kim Won-jung on September 5, her birthday. It was witness to Yuna’s injury and watched her last training session before she left for Sochi.
◆ Kim Yuna Faces Injury
On September 11, Kim Yuna’s face crumpled as she was leaving the rink. Her every step was followed by pain. It was completely different from her usual self. It looked like things were out of her control. Two weeks later, the Korean Skating Union announced the news of her metatarsal injury.
Maybe Yuna guessed this might happen when she decided on her comeback. Injuries would be high on the list of all the things she had to fight. But Kim took it on the chin. She couldn’t use her injury as an excuse to rest. She trained every single day.
Kim Won-jung was there for her. As a hockey player who had to stand body checking at every moment, the pain of injury was familiar to him. A friend of Kim Won-jung said he “was under a lot of physical pain and psychological pressure from his injuries” and that “Kim Won-jung was a strong shoulder to lean on. He would make Kim Yuna smile when she was in pain.”
◆ Kim Yuna and Kim Won-jung- the Connection
Kim Yuna and Kim Won-jung’s history goes back to 2010. When Kim Yuna chose Korea University, the two became colleagues at the ice rink. Both were skaters. Even though they weren’t in the same year, both of them had to face their battles on the ice field.
Taereung was their connection. Yuna came to train in Taereung in July 2012 after announcing her comeback. Four months later, in November, Kim Won-jung joined the national training center. As luck would have it, the Korea Armed Forces Athletic Corps had started an ice hockey team, and the national team player was chosen to be part of it.
The Olympics was also a common goal, as Kim Yuna trained for Sochi, while Kim Won-jung aimed for Pyeongchang. The Korea Armed Forces Athletic Corps selected national team members preferentially in order to “support the national team in forming the best fighting power, and join in the race toward Pyeongchang.”
◆ Kim Yuna and Kim Won-jung, Sympathy in Suffering
Kim Yuna’s worst enemy was Kim Yuna. In the constant fight against herself, the days were a sequence of lonely difficult hours. To make matters worse, she was injured. She couldn’t even move freely on ice. She would warm up in the rink in the mornings, and do indoors strength training in the afternoons.
Things were difficult for Kim Won-jung as well. The military hockey team only had 17 members, about half of a regular hockey team (30 players). In the 2013~2014 season, Daemyung Sangmu had to play in the Asia League Ice Hockey and the national championships at the same time. Kim had to move twice as much to keep up in the game.
Maybe their hardships made their time together seem sweeter. They looked after each other on special days. Kim Won-jung held a birthday party for Kim Yuna last September 5, while Kim Yuna celebrated Kim Won-jung’s birthday on December 19. And they didn’t miss out on Christmas Eve, Korea’s day for sweethearts.
◆ Kim Yuna and Kim Won-jung’s Stolen Hours
In fact, the two didn’t have much time to meet. Yuna, for one, had to focus on the Sochi games. Her training went on from 9 to 6. Kim Won-jung is serving his compulsory military service, which means he has to live in the squadroom even in the training center, and has restrictions on leaving it.
Although the two practiced in the same rink, their paths only crossed in a flash. Kim Yuna would finish her training just as Kim Won-jung was starting his… it was the only hour they could see the other’s face.
But they did have one rule- to meet outside the center twice a month. Usually they had to adjust the hours to Kim Won-jung’s days or nights off. Since the army team swept through the championships last season, they were rewarded with days/nights off and stand-downs on the days after important matches. Those were the hours that the two would meet.
◆ Yuna and Won-jung on Samgyeopsal Dates
Not that the dating hours were long. At most they had about two hours for meals. Usually they went to Korean barbecue places near Taereung. The menu was almost always samgyeopsal, an extension of their training.
Not surprising, as Kim Yuna was obliged to eat samgyeopsal to keep up her strength. She once said in an Olympics press conference that she “had to build muscles fast. Because I use up so much energy I consciously eat meat.”
The two blocked out attention to themselves with the help of friends and acquaintances. They went on double dates like they were meeting friends. Kim Yuna’s manager was also present for most of the dinners. People around them recognized Yuna, but couldn’t suspect the relationship.
◆ Gold. Love. All Yuna's.
7 minutes. For a 7-minute performance Kim Yuna toiled 600 days. It amounts to a total of 104,592 hours. In all, she trained for 8,705,520 hours. And on February 21, she gave her all in Sochi. All of Korea cried. But Kim Yuna smiled. It was a smile that said, it’s all over now, I’m free.
She battled herself for an Olympics that was shared by everyone. It must have been a lonely and difficult time. Kim Won-jung was a shoulder she could lean on, an umbrella that protected her, a shade where she could rest.
Gold. Love. All Yuna’s. Now she puts down the heavy crown to plan a new life. Let’s hope it starts with her sweet newfound love. Not as the queen on ice, but for 24-year-old Yuna.
☞ For Gold
What do netizens think?
netizen comments on nate article:
1. [+2,981, -37] I'm glad that Dispatch waited until the Olympics were over before releasing this. Something other media outlets should learn from.
2. [+1,922, -31] Whenever I met up with friends, we'd always talk about who we thought Yuna would end up marrying ㅋㅋㅋ a fellow athlete... such a Yuna-like love ㅎㅎ They match well~ Have a beautiful love~~!!!
3. [+1,687, -18] Hul! They're wearing summer clothes. Dispatch must've waited a long time.
4. [+228, -4] Why am I sitting here impressed over Yuna's leg muscles. Ah, so jealous.
5. [+217, -5] Dispatch waited and waited until the Olympics were over to release it. I'm actually thankful of them ㅋㅋ
6. [+215, -4] Dispatch really went above and beyond for Kim Yuna before releasing this... quite honestly one of the most beautiful dating news article I've read.
netizen comments on naver article:
1. [+19,480, -265] As expected of Dispatch, they crack open everything ㅋㅋㅋ
2. [+17, 897, -356] Ah? Hmm? I can't say anything but daebak. I was always curious who Kim Yuna would end up choosingin the end... daebak. Supporting Yuna's love.. daebak daebak.
3. [+14,426, -283] Wow, Dispatch's class... have a great love!
4. [+11,645, -210] Daebak... daebak... daeeeeebaaaaaaak!!!!!!!
5. [+11,347, -252] Huuuul.... Congratulations!!!!!!!!!
cr: naver netizenbuzz
;_; glad yuna's livin' the life after like 912381029+ years of just ice skating. figures she meets someone who skates as well. their babies would have amazing calves. and ofc dispatch strikes again