[CNN] Park So-Youn: The teen tipped to be South Korea’s ‘next Kim Yu-Na’

July 15, 2015


Park So-yeon (Yonhap)

Park So-youn (Yonhap)

[CNN] —  It’s not easy following in the footsteps of a sporting legend — but it helps when they are willing to guide you in the right direction.

Park So-Youn has taken over the mantle of South Korea’s top figure skater from Kim Yu-Na, and the teenager is grateful that the former Olympic and world champion is giving back to the sport following her retirement last year.

“Kim Yu-Na was the best skater in the world, who could move people with her performance — that I really respect,” the 17-year-old tells CNN’s Human to Hero series.

“Thanks to Kim Yu-Na, I think figure skating became a lot more popular and it’s so nice how the fans are a lot more interested now.”

Kim’s final appearance at the top level was the 2014 Sochi Olympics, where she had to settle for the silver medal.

By virtue of her second world title the year before, following a year-long break from the sport, South Korea earned three slots for Sochi — and Park snatched one of those at a national ranking competition.

“I really appreciate how Yu-Na gave me the chance to participate at the Olympics,” Park says.

“During the competition I couldn’t do my best because I was too nervous, but nevertheless I was really glad because I think it was a really good experience for me.”

Park, who has a background in ballet dancing, had been on the national team since the age of 13 and made her senior debut ahead of Sochi. While she was 21st at the Olympics, she improved with ninth overall at that year’s world championships. [READ MORE]