You Young lands triple axel and first place

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You Young lands triple axel and first place

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You Young performs her free skate program during the figure skating women’s singles at the 2020 Winter Youth Olympics in Lausanne, Switzerland on Monday. [REUTERS/YONHAP]

Figure skater You Young won Korea’s first-ever gold in women’s figure skating at the 2020 Winter Youth Olympics in Lausanne, Switzerland on Monday.

You got off to a strong start by receiving a score of 73.51 in her short program to lead the field of 16 skaters. Then, she excelled in her free skate program. By receiving another top score of 140.49 in her free skate, You successfully maintained the top spot with a combined score of 214.00.

You finished a good 13.97 points ahead of silver medalist Kseniia Sinitsyna of Russia and 26.28 points ahead of bronze medalist Anna Frolova.

“I was honestly kind of nervous before my skate,” You was quoted as saying on the Olympic website. “But I tried to keep thinking that this is just a practice, not a competition, and I think that helped me.”

Despite the nerves, You performed with confidence as she started her performance by successfully landing the most difficult jump element in her performance, the triple axel. Following that, she smoothly completed her performance with triple lutz-triple toe loop as well as a double axel-double toe loop.

“I’m happy with my triple axel, but I didn’t have a chance to put my triple toe in the second half,” You was quoted as saying. “Instead of a double axel-triple toe, I just did a double axel-double toe, but I think it’s a good way to be mistake-free.”

Although You had been on a tough schedule where she had to make her way to Lausanne, Switzerland, right after the national championship, which ended on Jan. 5, she wasn’t complaining.

“I think I did pretty good here even without getting to rest,” You was quoted as saying. “I’m happy with the result today and I’m very thankful that my fans keep watching me and cheering me on.”

This is the third edition of the Winter Youth Olympics and the tournament is open to athletes aged between 15 to 18. A total of 1,880 youth athletes are competing at this year’s Winter Youth Olympics. The event is held from Jan. 9 to Jan. 22.

For You, Kim Yun-a was the reason she started figure skating. She was living in Singapore in 2010 when she saw Kim win the gold medal at the Vancouver Winter Olympics.

Until 2012, You trained by herself in Singapore, but the tropical climate made conditions less than ideal. She had to practice in public rinks and taught herself techniques by watching videos of Mao Asada and Kim because there were no professional figure skating coaches in Singapore. To improve, You’s mother brought her to Korea in 2013.

When Yoo arrived in Korea, she started training at the Gwacheon Ice Skating Rink, where her hero Kim trained when she was little. Although she had a difficult time with Korean, she was more passionate than anyone else when it came to figure skating. After spending a majority of her time training, You, within a year, mastered the triple jump, and in 2015, she became the youngest athlete to be chosen for the national team, at age 10.

In 2016, she broke another record, becoming the youngest figure skater to win the Korea Figure Skating Championship, exceeding Kim’s record by 10 months.

Since 2017, You had been training in Canada at the Toronto Cricket Skating and Curling Club, where Kim trained for the Vancouver Winter Olympics. It was precisely the reason why You wanted to practice there.

Now that she’s won gold at the Youth Winter Olympics, You has set her sights in competing at the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.

“My plan is to land a quad in Beijing if I can,” You was quoted as saying. “And I want to do a clean program there.”

BY KANG YOO-RIM [kang.yoorim@joongang.co.kr]

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