Kim Yu-na to retire after 2014 Sochi Olympics
Olympic gold medal-winning figure skater Kim Yu-na said Monday that she will hang up her skates after the 2014 Winter Games.
“I will retire after the Sochi Winter Olympics. Although the Vancouver Games were my final destination in my childhood, I have extended it to Sochi,” the 21-year-old said in a press conference at the National Training Center in Taeneung, northern Seoul.
Kim also said that after the 2014 Olympics, she will run to become an International Olympic Committee athlete member. She was key in bringing the 2014 Winter Games to PyeongChang.
Her announcement comes two weeks after saying in China that she will soon decide her future and after nearly two years during which she remained silent on the matter.
Kim, who won gold at the 2010 Vancouver Games, sat out last season because she could not find the motivation or find any new goals as an athlete. Instead, she skated in corporate-sponsored ice shows and appeared in numerous advertisements including a beer commercial that raised several eyebrows.
She said that the time off gave her a chance to reflect on her future, which as it took until last week, is a telling sign of how difficult a decision it must have been. And she spoke openly about her fears and pressure.
“Although I was under pressure to live up to high expectations, I thought I may regret my decision if I quit here,” she said. “ I will make a fresh start as a national skater, not an Olympic champion. I want to be seen as a national team member, not the Olympic champion.”
Kim said that training with young skaters in Taeneung during her hiatus motivated her to extend her career.
She was the first female figure skater to achieve the grand slam of winning the Grand Prix Final, Four Continents Championships, World Championships and the Winter Olympics. Kim will begin performing at a competitive level this fall, but there has been no decision on coaching staff and a competition schedule as yet.
“I have just decided to continue skating, so I have not decided on coaching staff and the program (for this upcoming season).
“As I sat out last season, I cannot participate in the Grand Prix events. I will search for international competitions when I become fit.”
The skater, who took gold with a world record in Vancouver, said she is currently out of shape and will focus on physical training, while trying to achieve the fitness levels required to compete.