Automatic qualification for Games host scrapped
By Kang Seung-woo
The International Skating Union (ISU) recently concluded that Korea will not be assured of an automatic figure skating qualification spot at the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics.
According to its October communication, the ISU said that in the case single and pair skating and ice dance competitors of the ISU member country hosting the Olympic Winter Games do not qualify through the normal procedure, one competitor per discipline of the host member shall no longer have the right to participate in the Olympic Winter Games.
The Switzerland-based skating body, which convened its council earlier this month in Prague, the Czech Republic, added that the amendment will become effective for the 2018 Olympic Winter Games only. It has not decided on the procedure for Winter Olympics after 2018.
The decision is likely to deal a blow to Korea, which has just started to see its skaters budding on the international scene but only in singles competition.
“We voted against the decision at the council but could not reverse the result,” said an official of the Korea Skating Union.
Sparked by the massive success of Olympic gold medallist and former world champion Kim Yu-na in the women’s singles event, figure skating has drawn many young skaters hoping to follow in her footsteps. But pair skating and ice dance are still in their infancy and the decision could take away opportunities for local skaters to experience the Olympics.
The ISU said it will keep the current automatic qualification for the host country for the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia, saying the system has already been approved by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Executive Board.