According to Reuters, Olympic figure skating champion Yuna Kim has chosen Golden Spin as her first official competition of the Olympic season. The Korean skater was supposed to compete at Skate Canada International and Trophée Eric Bompard, but she withdrew due to a metatarsal injury. Still recovering, Yuna decided to start her season in Zagreb (5-8 December), at Dom Sportova arena. One thing is sure: as it happened last year in Dortmund (Germany), when Yuna competed at NRW Trophy, Korean fans will accompany her, in large numbers, in the capital of Croatia.
by Florentina Tone
I have this image in my mind: tens of Korean fans of Yuna, in the Palavela arena in Torino, at the 2010 World Figure Skating Championships. Yuna Kim had just won the Olympics in Vancouver and, a month later, she and her fans were in Torino for the Worlds.
Last year, when she decided to return to competitive skating, Yuna chose a smaller event to debut her 2012-2013 season: NRW Trophy in Dortmund, Germany – and a lot of Koreans decided to visit Dortmund with the sole purpose of witnessing Yuna’s performance. In fact, the arena hosting the NRW Trophy, Eissportzentrum Westfalenhalle, proved too small for those wanting to see the Olympic champion skating and the tickets were sold in a matter of minutes. I assume this will happen again, in Zagreb, at 2013 edition of Golden Spin. Except this time, Dom Sportova arena can host up to 6.500 people…
“I have chosen this competition after reviewing my options”
Kim, who became the first South Korean to win an Olympic figure skating gold medal, suffered a foot injury in September and has been working ever since to regain her strength. Last week, „Queen Yuna” – as she is named in Korea – said she was about „70 percent ready” to return to competition. A week later, on 5th of November, a press release made the piece of news official: „I’ve recovered a lot from the injury, and I have chosen this competition after reviewing my options. I will prepare hard and get satisfying results”. Therefore, at the beginning of December, in Zagreb, Yuna will unveil her programs for the Olympic season: the short, „Send in the Clowns”, and the free, „Adios Nonino”, both choreographed by David Wilson.
This year’s edition of Golden Spin of Zagreb will definitely be a competition to watch – and a lot of figure skating fans will look for youtube clips after the event (as it happened last year, when the Italian Carolina Kostner came to Zagreb for this particular competition and won the trophy). It is a premiere for Yuna too, since spectators in Dom Sportova will witness a change in the composition of her programs: „In the past, I had strong concepts for short programs and lyrical ones for the long. But this time it’s the other way around. I have a fast tempo for the long program this time, which requires more physical strength”.
Preliminary schedule 2013 Golden Spin of Zagreb
Friday, December 6
Ladies Short Program 14:30
Saturday, December 7
Ladies Free Skating 15:15
Dom Sportova in Zagreb: what to expect
For those of you wanting to go to Zagreb at the beginning of December, here are a few pieces of useful information. Dom Sportova, the arena hosting the event, was built in 1972, in the western part of the city. It is used for basketball, handball, volleyball, ice hockey, gymnastics, tennis, as well as concerts. Plus, it hosted the 2008 and the 2013 European Figure Skating Championships.
In Dom Sportova it can be rather chilly, so make sure you’ll bring an extra sweater. The area is safe, there are at least two or three conveniently located hotels (Hotel Panorama which hosted the skaters and the officials for the 2013 Europeans; Petros Apartments, Hotel Laguna etc; here is a story about the apartment I stayed in during the Europeans…), there is also a Lidl store across the street – and you wouldn’t want to miss the incredible Croatian pastry.
An extra tip: if you’ll be in Zagreb in December, do yourself a favor and visit the bar inside Dom Sportova – you can drink a cup of hot tea (the wonderful local tea Franck) and you might even run into your favorite skaters and coaches (take my word for it). And, of course, if Hotel Panorama is the host for the skaters participating at 2013 Golden Spin of Zagreb, you could easily see/meet the athletes when they’re going to the arena/returning to the hotel (Panorama is in the same square with Dom Sportova…)
The photos below were taken in January, at the 2013 edition of the Europeans.
For additional photos of Dom Sportova/Europeans/Zagreb, you can also visit my blog; here you can find the complete story of the 2013 European Figure Skating Championships, hosted by Dom Sportova arena in January. Of course, the posts are in Romanian, but you can still see the photos (you’ll recognize the skaters, I’m sure…)