Teen figure skating phenom You Young, the youngest Korean national champion, has joined the agency of her idol, Kim Yu-na.
All That Sports announced Monday that You, who captured the national ladies' singles title on Jan. 10 at age 11, has signed a three-year deal.
You scored 183.75 points to become the youngest national champion at 11 years and eight months, breaking the previous record held by Kim, who won the 2003 title at 12 years and six months. Kim went on to capture an Olympic gold and two world titles before retiring two years ago.
You, now hailed as the second coming of Kim, is also the only Korean female skater other than Kim to surpass 180 points at any domestic or international competitions. She has said she got into figure skating after watching Kim win the 2010 Olympic gold medal in Vancouver. Kim, after presenting the gold medal to You during the victory ceremony at the national championship, said You is better than she was at that age.
"I am so happy to be in the same family with Yu-na, who's been my biggest role model," You said through the agency. "My dream is to become a great figure skater like she was. I will keep training hard to realize that dream."
All That Sports said You is "the hope of Korean figure skating" whose skating techniques and jumps have already reached a high level despite her young age.
"Relying on our expert know-how in managing Kim Yu-na's career, we will spare no efforts in ensuring You Young could concentrate only on her training and develop into a great athlete who will lead Korean figure skating to new heights," the agency added.
The announcement comes a day after the Korea Skating Union granted You special exemptions and allowed her to train at the national team facility.
Despite taking the national title, You soon lost her national team status under a new KSU rule that only those born before July 1, 2003, are eligible to represent the country. It meant You, born in May 2004, would no longer be allowed to work out at the National Training Center in Seoul, and was forced instead to schedule her practices at a public rink near her home in Gwacheon, Gyeonggi Province.
The KSU then buckled under pressure from a public eager to see the prodigy train in better circumstances. The national federation also said You will be able to practice with national team trainers and choreographers and receive the same medical support as the national team skaters. (Yonhap)
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