Friday, February 12, 2010


So, the Olympics are starting! I'm going to go watch the opening ceremonies tomorrow morning with my very proud Canadian pals, Mark + Alex and Bradley.

Though I might feign disdain towards organized sporting events and the "bro" cultures that go along with football/baseball/basketball, I have a deep, dark not so secret--I am insanely competitive when it comes to athletics/athletic watching. I was a competitive swimmer from ages eight to eighteen, after all (my event was the 500 freestyle, HOLLA distance swimmers). Even today, my favorite thing to do when I'm by myself at the gym is to find a treadmill immediately next to an unsuspecting exerciser and run faster, longer, and at a steeper incline than they do. THAT'S RIGHT, I RUN CIRCLES AROUND MIDDLE-AGED KOREAN WOMEN AT THE GYM TO MAKE MYSELF FEEL BETTER ABOUT MY OWN ATHLETIC PROWESS

But anyways, the larger point is that I do find myself getting getting pretty swept up into the cheesy dramatic music/predictable up-from-injury sports narratives that are the Olympics.

The Olympics this year are especially exciting for Koreans in particular because of one unavoidable superstar: Kim Yu-Na(김연아), the 19-year old world champion whom is seemingly plastered to the side of every bus in Seoul right now. Everyone loves her here--I have seen four full-length Kim Yu-Na interviews on TV here in the past few days. She does ads for Nike and Hyundai, among ten bazillion other things:

She is the favorite to win the gold medal in Vancouver this year. I can only imagine the fury Koreans will feel if she loses, especially to this woman, Mao Asada--her Japanese rival.

Back in December when snow/ice combined to make walking on granite (the flooring material of choice in Korea) treacherous, I spotted this warning sign featuring Yu-Na:

Hardy har har. (Approximate) translation--the floor is so slick in here, it's like ice. And you ain't no Kim Yu-Na, so be sure not to crack your head open. We're not insured.

I found this NYT's video feature on Yu-Na--watch it, and cheer her on in the coming weeks! WOO HOO, athleticism

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