I’m rather late with this, but I felt that I also had to write something about this year’s Olympics in Sochi. And so I chose to write about the only thing in this entire event that interest me – figure skating!!
It is no secret that I am a die-hard Kim Yuna fan! I admire her grace, her talent, her fighting spirit and also her modesty. If I had to choose someone I’d describe as the perfect role model, it would probably be her. And a majority of South Koreans seem to agree with me, seeing as Kim Yuna is often voted among South Korea’s favourite idols, making the list next to Kpop stars and models.
And yet many sports fandoms are rarely acknowledged, unless there are some big events, such as the Olympics, coming up. There are of course the soccer and rugby fandoms, but those usually center much more around clubs, rather than individual athletes. What I enjoy about the figure skating fandoms online, such as those surrounding Kim Yuna or Yuzuru Hanyu, is their appreciation of a single person’s talent and achievements. Yes, people do get over-excited and practically glorify those athletes, but that’s what fandoms are like – they do take appreciation to a whole new level. For example, I admit with no shame that I collect Kim Yuna pictures on Pinterest like crazy. that I follow the Kim Yuna tag on tumblr to see what other fans have to say about her and that I’ve also seen all documentaries ever made about her (even those in Korean without subtitles!).
The special thing about fandoms around athletes is that they do not go hand in hand with merchandise or products that can be consumed on a weekly basis, such as TV shows. The fandom does really rely on the athletes’ achievements and events, making the moments when new material is available truly special. Just like the Olympics right now.
All day I was anxious about watching Kim Yuna skate. I was worried I would miss her performance due to being at work, but I rushed home and still made it just in time to see her skate. And it was a moment of pure joy! It was barely three minutes long, but I was really emotionally invested in her performance, knowing it was her last at such an event. In fact, I am still on edge, cause the competition for the short program is still going on and someone might still take the first place from her. But ultimately I am proud to say that I am part of a genre of fandoms that is often under-appreciated.
And just to finish this, have a video of Kim Yuna skating, BECAUSE SHE DESERVES GOLD!!!