Kim Yu Na inducted into Korea's sports Hall of Fame
Kimberly Su, Nov. 23, 2016, 9:02 a.m.
Former Olympic figure skating champion Kim Yu-na was formally inducted into South Korea's sports Hall of Fame on Wednesday.
The Korean Olympic Committee (KOC) already announced last month that Kim, women's figure skating gold medalist at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, is its "sports hero"for 2016. The 26-year-old won the honor after a panel of experts at the KOC's sports hero selection committee evaluated her contribution to sports development and national prestige.
Since 2011, the KOC's Hall of Fame has been honoring those who promoted South Korea internationally with sports-related activities. It not only evaluates their achievements, but also their adequacy as a role model for society and how they overcame obstacles.
Previous inductees include the late Sohn Ki-jung, who won the marathon event at the 11th Summer Olympics in 1936, when South Korea was under Japanese colonial rule; former wrestler Yang Jung-mo, South Korea's first Olympic champion; and Park Shin-ja, former MVP at the World Women's Basketball Championships.
Kim is the first Winter sports athlete and the youngest among the Hall of Fame inductees.
"Those who were inducted into the Hall of Fame were veterans for sports community, and I feel that I'm too young and not qualified to be named a sports hero," said Kim at the induction ceremony at a Seoul hotel. "I recognize this honor as an encouragement and support for me to lead a meaningful life."
Kim was among the six final candidates for the KOC's top sports honor. The final list included former major league pitcher Park Chan-ho, LPGA Hall of Famer Pak Se-ri, football star Cha Bum-kun, late professional wrestling icon Kim Il and late sports reporter Lee Kil-yong.
"I will contribute to the development of figure skating in South Korea, so that young figure staking athletes can also receive this award in the future," she said.
Kim, who left the ice after winning the silver medal at the
2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, is one of the most decorated South Korean athletes. Aside from her two Olympic medals, Kim also has two world championships to her credit.
She is the first female skater to surpass 150 points in free skate and 200 points in total. Kim still holds the record scores under the revamped judging system in combined score at 228.56 points, which she set at the 2010 Winter Olympics.
Kim never missed the podium in her senior career that began in 2006.
The figure skating icon is currently a goodwill ambassador for the 2018 Winter Games in PyeongChang, Gangwon Province, some 180 kilometers east of Seoul.
Kim received the highest decoration in the nation's Order of Sport Merit, the Cheongryong ("blue dragon" in Korean) Medal last month. She previously earned the Moran Medal, the second-highest Order of Civil Merit, in 2012 for helping PyeongChang win the bid to host the 2018 Winter Olympics. (Yonhap)