Olympic victory behind them, athletes still must make the grade
They may be gold medalists, but there’s something that brings even world-renowned athletes such as Kim Yu-na, Mo Tae-bum, Lee Sang-hwa down to earth. At the end of the day, they are all students who need to worry about their grades. With the new semester setting in, athletes have to come back down from their Olympic elation and worry about school.
Figure skating gold medalist Kim Yu-na is a sophomore majoring in physical education at Korea University, and just like anybody else, turns in her papers to professors to earn credits. She is following a curriculum that the department of physical education at the college has developed specifically for their student athletes.
Her schedule consists of only morning classes, as student athletes are obligated to attend competitions and training at other times of the day
“Although they are not able to attend classes due to their training or meeting schedules, we give a cool-headed assessment. We grade them on a curve,” an official at Korea University’s department of physical education said. This means that Kim wouldn’t get a grade if she doesn’t submit anything to be evaluated, the official explained.
Kim sends in her assignments via e-mail while she’s attending training or competitions overseas, and turns her work in personally when she comes back to Korea. Despite the efforts, it’s not easy to manage grades. Last year, she failed two courses. A person from the department of physical education at Korea University said, “It might be because she didn’t do well on or didn’t submit her assignment. It may be even harder for her to get good grades than other students.”
Kim must complete 140 credits by graduation, and it means she has to take 18 to 20 credits per semester in order to graduate. Fortunately, she will be able to earn credits by taking courses at a university in Toronto, Canada, where she trains.