The Winter Olympics in Sochi is one of the most anticipated sporting events of the year and 23-year-old South Korean icon, Yuna Kim is returning to the ice to defend her prestigious gold medal. What may seem as a competitive season, Kim chooses to be at "peace" with the hype surrounding the Sochi Games and not "focus on the title" alone this time around.
Each country has their own slew of superstars and in South Korea, the "Queen of Ice" and two-time World Figure Skating Champion is beloved in her native country. At this year's Winter Olympics, Kim will not only put her gold medal on the line, but she will compete in her final competition, as she plans to hang up her skates and retire.
Despite her overwhelming competition at her final Olympics, Kim is not feeling the pressure to come out on top, but rather wants to enjoy every moment. "I'm not feeling much pressure for the Olympics because I think I already have done many things in my career," told Kim to the press. "I will try to enjoy my second Olympics."
Since her humble beginnings in the figure skating world, Kim has become a history-maker and record-setter. Kim was born on September 5, 1990, in Bucheon, Gyeonggi, South Korea. She began to bring in titles and medals as her career escalated, and brought Korea's first international medal in figure skating after her bout in the 2004-2005 season of the Junior Grand Prix. Yet the accomplishment that made her an international star and arguably one of the best figure skaters of her time was with her 2010 Winter Olympic gold medal win in Vancouver.
Watch Yuna Kim's performance in 2010 Vancouver Olympics below:
Kim's accomplishments garnered her recognition outside of figure skating. Aside from becoming a huge star in South Korea, she was awarded with the Sportswoman of the Year Award by the Women's Sports Foundation in October 2012. She has even contributed as an ambassador for Visit Korea Year from 2010-2012 and endorsed many products through commercials in South Korea.
Aside from her commercial obligations, the iconic figure skater holds strong beliefs in her faith. Kim has gone on to say that she discovered a "newfound peace" after getting baptized and even developed a ritual of praying before entering the rink. The peace she has held throughout "knowing that she had God's love" both in the competition and out, is now her source of peace coming into these games. Her mother also expressed the importance of God in their household. "Your will and effort is not everything. We enter the church to count on God."
Though satisfied with her accomplishments, Kim has expressed that the idea of life after retirement has scared her just a bit. "After Sochi I won't feel empty. I did my share," reassures Kim. "I just feel worried about my life after retirement."
As she enters into Sochi, Kim is not only eager to compete in another history-making Olympics, but to inspire others through her skating. "I am glad for this opportunity to bring more attention to the sport of figure skating so that more girls can become interested and inspired to participate."