By Cho Jae-hyon
The Korea Skating Union (KSU) said Monday its Vice President Rhee Chi-hee has been selected as a judge for the female figure skating event for next year's Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Canada.
"It will be the first time that a Korean will serve as judge for the Winter Olympics," Rhee told Yonhap News agency in Paris where she served as judge for the Trophee Bompard.
Rhee passed the International Skating Union's qualifying test to become an international umpire in September 2001, becoming the first Korean to obtain the license.
The selection of Rhee has been backed by world champion Kim Yu-na who captured the Trophee Bompard championship, Saturday, winning the free skate with a flawless performance to outrival Japanese skater Mao Asada.
The ISU has granted judging qualification to those from nations whose skaters claimed 24th and above in international events.
In the 2006 Torino Winter Olympics, Rhee wasn't able to serve as judge since no Korean qualified for the games.
In Vancouver, she will be among nine judges who score the performance of Kim ― the strongest candidate for the gold medal.
Rhee said judges' subjective views cannot be completely ruled out when scoring skaters, no matter how scientific the new scoring system in figure skating has become.
Rhee said Korea should produce skaters who can succeed Kim as soon as possible.
"I was able to become a judge this time thanks to Kim Yu-na. But I'm concerned that this might be the first and last chance to become a judge for the Winter Olympics," Rhee said. "We should produce a player who can succeed Kim at the earliest possible time."