Son Yeon-jae, the rising star of Korea rhythmic gymnastics
May 23, 2012
Many Koreans consider her a fairy of rhythmic gymnastics. Her stellar rise in the world of gymnastics feels almost like an early dawn draped in fresh, bluish light, heralding a great day ahead. She has attracted attention from the world of international rhythmic gymnastics as well as her compatriots.
The world has recognized the potential of Son. Le Gymnaste, a French monthly by the Fédération Française de Gymnastique (FFG), made her the cover model for its April edition and ran an interview with her under the title “Explosive Growth.”
When your reporter for KOREA interviews her, she shows nonchalance towards how the world sees her. She has been working on a new club program that includes many technically tricky movements and is focused on the World Cup in Pesaro in April this year. She is pressing herself to “concentrate and concentrate” on herself so that her body will become one with the apparatus she manipulates. She wants to be governed by the thought, “The program is me, the apparatus is me.” More persistence and concentration in training is required because the individual all-around score is what will ultimately matter at the London Olympics.
There will be no medal for any specific event per apparatus.
Heart in London
The difference between winning and losing in rhythmic gymnastics will be measured in the smallest differences in scores. Your reporter asks Son who her role model is in this fiercely competitive landscape. She cites Yevgeniya Kanayeva of Russia, the current number one in the world, and Anna Bessonova of Ukraine, a retired star dubbed the Queen of the Elegance.
As a child, she dreamed of performing on the Olympic stage, and her dream will come true this summer in London. Her next dream is to do her utmost and record the highest possible point total she can in London. To make this second dream a reality, she is now constantly checking herself. She has a tight schedule until then—World Cup events in Sofia (Bulgaria), Corbeil-Essonnes (France), and Tashkent (Uzbekistan) in May, and another World Cup event in Minsk (Belarus) in June. These will help her step up her game and check how well prepared she is before finally landing in London for the Olympics.
Son, a 17-year-old rising star, says, “South Korea does not have a very strong presence in the world of rhythmic gymnastics, but I want to show how well Koreans can do in the sport. I will do my best.”
Yes, South Korea has never been considered a serious contender in rhythmic gymnastics, but now has new hope with Son. Will she hasten the coming of daybreak to Korean rhythmic gymnastics? Let’s see this summer.
*Article from Korea Magazine (May 2012)