By Kang Seung-woo
When Kim Yu-na has wowed the figure skating world with her outstanding performances, South Korea's ardent fans have usually only been able to watch her through television.
After attaining stardom in 2006, rarely could the 17-year-old get a chance to show off her world-class skills in front of domestic enthusiasts.
A fire even deterred her from performing in her native country last year.
But Kim, the two-time defending World Grand Prix Final champion, has discovered a rare opportunity to perform in Korea by headlining the star-studded roster of an ice show billed ``Festa on Ice 2008.''
IB Sports, Kim's agency, announced Monday that it will host the ice show on May 17-18 at Mokdong Ice Rink in Seoul, and it will feature top-tier skaters such as Stephane Lambiel of Switzerland, who won both the world and Grand Prix Final championships each of the last two years; Daisuke Takahashi of Japan, who set records in the free skate (175.84 points) and total score (264.41) under the International Skating Union (ISU) judging system in February in the men's singles; and Germany's Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy, who are the current world and Grand Prix pairs champions.
In the women's singles, Turin Olympic gold medallist Shizuka Arakawa of Japan and Swiss star skater Sarah Meier, who won a bronze medal at the World Grand Prix Final two years ago, will also excite Korean fans along with local icon Kim.
``It has been a pity for me not to perform before Korean fans,'' said Kim, who performed in a local ice show in 2006 after becoming the Junior Grand Prix Final winner. ``I really want to show off my prowess in May.''
Other South Korean participants will include Kim Na-young and Yoon Yea-ji. Kim, 17, participated in the World Championships last month and finished 19th, and the 13-year-old Yoon won gold in the women's novice competition at the Triglav Trophy last week in Jesenice, Slovenia.
Canadian Brian Orser, who coaches Kim Yu-na, will direct the ice show, while being accompanied by choreographer David Wilson of Canada.