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bhchao

Korean-Japanese rivalry in Olympic figure skating

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bhchao

Anyone been watching the Vancouver Olympics lately? Figure skating has always dominated the spotlight in every Winter Olympics. This Olympics' ladies competition will be no different because this time archrivals Korea and Japan will dominate the competition.

Korean passions boil every time their athletes compete against Japanese.

Today is the ladies short program. Kim Yu-na of South Korea is the favorite entering the competition. Her main rivals for the gold are Mao Asada and Miki Ando from Japan.

Good job on China winning the pairs gold medal last week.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/23/sports/olympics/23longman.html?hp

Officially, Kim Yu-na of South Korea will be judged only for her jumps and spins when the Olympic women’s figure skating competition begins Tuesday. But there will be important political and cultural elements to her programs as well.

No South Korean figure skater has won an Olympic medal, much less gold, as is expected from the willowy Kim, 19. So not only does she have to shoulder enormous athletic expectations, but also Kim’s main rivals, Mao Asada and Miki Ando, are from Japan, which occupied the Korean peninsula for 35 years through the end of World War II.

More than a half-century later, South Korea’s nationalistic fervor and sense of victimhood still inform sporting rivalries between the two nations. The Olympic buildup has been fueled by great anticipation of Kim’s beautiful, speedy, flowing style, and also by Internet vitriol and fears that she will be unfairly marked down for the quality of her triple lutz-triple toe combination jump.

“Koreans’ blood roils when their country competes with Japan in sports or elsewhere,"... Figure skating is as much art as sport. Kim is a cultural icon as well as an athlete. Thus, Song said, the competition between Kim and her Japanese rivals will also be viewed as a referendum “on which country’s culture is better regarded by the rest of the world.”

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Outofin

Pressure, pressure! I'm scared!

I'm all for Kim Yu-Na. I think I watched her performance some time last year on TV. I forgot what game it was. She won by a unusually (even ridiculously) big margin. Not every generation has a talent like her. She's so beautiful.

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anonymoose

Sorry, completely off topic, but does anyone know why Kim's name is translitterated as Kim Yu Na when the characters are 김연아 which one by one are Kim Yun A?

(Incidentally, her name is 金妍儿 in Hanja.)

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chrix

Yes, that might be because it's pronounced that way. If the following syllable begins with a vowel, the consonant of the preceding syllable is carried over, IIRC this process is called "resyllabification".

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skylee
金妍儿 in Hanja

Is it 儿 in hanja? Or is it 兒? :help

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bhchao

Strong showing by Kim Yu Na and Mao Asada after the short program. Neither made any mistakes. Both skated flawlessly, yet there were differences in style.

Asada skated first and was the athletic superior, landing a triple axel- double combination.

Kim kept her composure after Asada's formidable performance, skating an elegant, yet technically challenging program.

After watching the short program, it's obvious that Asada is the athlete, while Kim is the artist.

Standings going into Thursday's long program:

1) Kim Yu Na

2) Mao Asada

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bhchao

Viewership in Korea and Japan was high last Tuesday: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704479404575087362544752080.html?mod=WSJ_latestheadlines

For Japanese sports fans, Ms. Mao stands as the best chance for the country to win a gold in Vancouver.

Business and other activities in both Japan and South Korea came to a virtual standstill when the two women skated Wednesday afternoon Asia time. In both countries, about one-third of all TVs were tuned in to the skating, according to media-research groups. In South Korea, of the TVs that were on, nearly 80% were on the Olympics channel at the time.

On Thursday, TV newscasts pushed aside coverage of the U.S. congressional testimony of Toyota Motor Corp. president Akio Toyoda to rehash the performance of the two skaters

Looks like the two women have a friendly rivalry with each other, compared to the anti-Ohnoism.

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knadolny

Yeah we are watching the rivalry from Tokyo. My wife is a big fan of Mao-chan, but she says that the Japanese are big fans of Yuna as well.

Korean passions boil every time their athletes compete against Japanese.

I don't get the impression from the Japanese side. But I know the Koreans tend to get more emotional about the rivalry.

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Outofin

Watching it. Oh, isn't it the most beautiful sport?! ...when they don't fall.

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doraemon

Although I'm not a big fan of figure skating, I am still a huge fan of the Olympic Games. Anyway, even though Kim Yu Na would probably win because she's just so much better than everyone else, there's just something about her skating I don't like (I think it's the choreography). Mao looks much more elegant and light on the ice without the cheesy James Bond music.

Mao Asada all the way!!! Good luck to Miki Ando as well!

Predicted podium:

1) Kim Yu Na

2) Joannie Rochette

3) Mao Asada

P.S. Why does politics have to be associated so closely with the Olympics? (you know, all that stuff about Japan occupying Korea...etc)

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HashiriKata
I don't get the impression from the Japanese side. But I know the Koreans tend to get more emotional about the rivalry.
It's kind of "near-there" mentality, not unusual. Actually, this is what pushes the less strong to become stronger, which is all for the better.

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Outofin

金妍儿 somehow reminds me another Korean 李昌镐 Yi Ch'ang-ho. When they are good, they can be so good that they leave no place for the second best. And they're good, for making no whatsoever mistakes.

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bhchao

Wow! what a performance by Kim Yu Na. I was so dazzled by her performance. The speed and power of her jumps is amazing. Her artistry was beautiful. She combined function and artistry very well. I liked her selection of Gershwin's music

The TV commentator said it was the best performance he's seen in the Olympics ladies competition.

Asada was awesome in landing two triple axels, which no woman has accomplished before. She landed all her jumps. Unfortunately she had two minor lapses in her skating when her blade cut the ice which interrupted the flow of her skating. Her artistry also could not rival Kim's.

Kim and Asada showed good sportsmanship during the medals ceremony. Kim wept during the medals ceremony while the Korean national anthem played.

金妍儿 somehow reminds me another Korean 李昌镐 Yi Ch'ang-ho. When they are good, they can be so good that they leave no place for the second best. And they're good, for making no whatsoever mistakes.

I agree. A lot has to do with psychology. It was a battle between each person's state of mind. She was pretty tough amid the pressure.

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Meng Lelan
Oh, isn't it the most beautiful sport?! ...when they don't fall.

Yeah, when they do fall it's quite some crash, like that Zhang-Zhang crash out in Torino (I think) but they finished up with a silver anyway.

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