Korea to send two men's figure skaters to Games for first time ever
Lee Si-hyeong secured a Beijing Winter Olympic men's figure skating berth at the ISU Nebelhorn Trophy tournament held in Oberstdorf, Germany, on Friday.
Fellow skater Cha Jun-hwan secured a seat earlier in March, allowing Korea to send two athletes in the men's figure skating for the first time.
Lee finished fifth at the ISU Nebelhorn Trophy with 79.95 points in the 2-minutes-and-40-seconds short program and 149.95 points in the 4 minute free skating segment, totaling 229.14 points. Vincent Zhou of the United States topped the board with 284.23 points. As the event serves as a qualifier for the upcoming winter Olympics, the top seven athletes secured their spot at the Olympics.
On Saturday, ice dancing duo Min Yu-ra and Daniel Eaton finished seventh, dropping their chance to compete at the winter Games.
The duo carded a 66.79 in the first rhythm dance segment but had to settle for 91.75 points in the second free dance segment. They performed two numbers from the musical "Les Miserables" in the free dance program, but a dance lift mistake in the middle of their performance saw a deduction of 1.37 points in their grade of execution. Finland topped the scoreboard with 70.92 in the rhythm dance and 110.27 in the free dance segment.
Cha, who will be joining Lee at the Games, ranked 10th at the ISU World Championships held in Stockholm, Sweden, in March to earn his berth.
In the women's event, Lee Hae-in and Kim Ye-rim each finished 10th and 11th to secure their berths at the same event in March.
As Olympic berths are allocated to the country and not the individual athlete, skaters will need to compete in the domestic qualifiers to make it on to the big stage.
BY YUN SO-HYANG [firstname.lastname@example.org]