Olympic figure skating champion Kim Yu-na, center, poses with her new coaches Ryu Jong-hyun, left, and Shin Hea-sook after a press conference in Seoul, Wednesday. Shin will oversee Kim’s training programs, while Ryu will handle the skater’s conditioning and fitness training. / Yonhap
By Jung Min-ho
Olympic figure skating champion Kim Yu-na has rehired two former coaches. Shin Hea-sook and Ryu Jong-hyun will take charge of helping the 22-year-old to return to the competitive skating starting with the 2013 World Figure Skating Championships in March.
Ryu worked with Kim when she started skating at the age of seven until she was 10. Shin then coached her between 10 and 12. Kim has trained by herself for the past few months after her contract with former coach Peter Oppergard ended last year
“I still have a good sense of techniques like jumping. But I’m still concerned about my performance after a one-year break,” Kim said at a press conference Wednesday. “The two coaches have been with me through my 16-year career. So, I believe training with them will be greatly helpful to me.”
Kim hasn’t participated in competitive events since the world championships in April last year, instead featuring in star-studded ice shows.
Shin was on the Korean national team at the 1980 Lake Placid Winter Olympics. Since moving to coaching in 1984, Shin has trained many figure skaters including Kim Hae-jin and Kwak Min-jeong. Ryu, an ex-ice dancer, spotted Kim’s talent and played a big role in providing a toehold in the sport for the young prodigy.
“There seem to be no major issues concerning Kim’s technique, and the new program is almost ready to be presented,” Shin said. “But there is a problem with Kim’s stamina, which we will focus on for the rest of the training period.”
Shin will be in charge of all matters regarding Kim’s training, while Ryu will manage the skater’s conditioning and fitness training. Their contracts are until the March championships and Kim’s coaches for the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics will be decided then.
Previously, Kim’s agency announced that a compilation of songs from the musical “Les Miserables” and music from the 1963 film “Kiss of the Vampire” soundtrack will accompany her program for the 2012-13 season which will end in March.
“It is an honor for me to train Kim, who has grown as one of the world’s top figure skaters,” Ryu said. “I will try my best to help her to develop further.”
The 2013 championships will be held in London, Canada. Kim won her first world title in 2009 in Los Angeles. She was second in 2010 and 2011 after finishing third in 2007 and 2008.
Kim announced in July that she will hang up her skates after the Sochi Games, saying she wants to become an International Olympic Committee athlete member after the event.