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(LEAD) (Olympics) Former Olympic figure skating champion Kim Yu-na lights cauldron for PyeongChang 2018

2018/02/09 22:40

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(ATTN: CHANGES photo; ADDS details)

By Yoo Jee-ho

PYEONGCHANG, South Korea, Feb. 9 (Yonhap) -- South Korean figure skating icon Kim Yu-na on Friday lit the cauldron that will burn throughout the PyeongChang Winter Olympics.

To cap off the opening ceremony at the PyeongChang Olympic Stadium, Kim, the 2010 Olympic champion in the ladies' singles figure skating, held the flame as the final torch bearer and lit the cauldron to the thunderous roars from the crowd.

South Korean figure skating icon Kim Yu-na holds the Olympic torch before lighting the cauldron for the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics during the opening ceremony at PyeongChang Olympic Stadium on Feb. 9, 2018. (Yonhap) South Korean figure skating icon Kim Yu-na holds the Olympic torch before lighting the cauldron for the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics during the opening ceremony at PyeongChang Olympic Stadium on Feb. 9, 2018. (Yonhap)

Dressed in a classic figure skating costume, Kim skated around on the ice installed underneath the cauldron, before taking the torch from two players from the joint women's hockey team, Park Jong-ah from the South and Jong Su-hyon from the North. The White Porcelain Cauldron, inspired by moon-shape white porcelain jar from the Joseon Dynasty, will be kept burning through Feb. 25.

Choosing Kim for the honor was a no-brainer. The two-time world champion was a trailblazing figure during her illustrious career and established numerous firsts for South Korea. She's the first South Korean to win an Olympic figure skating gold -- she also added a silver in 2014 -- and the first to win a figure skating world championship. Kim actually won two world titles, while also grabbing two silvers and two bronzes. She captured three International Skating Union Grand Prix Final titles, something no other South Korean has come even close to matching.

Former South Korean Olympic figure skating champion Kim Yu-na performs on the ice at PyeongChang Olympic Stadium before lighting the cauldron during the opening ceremony at PyeongChang Olympic Stadium on Feb. 9, 2018. (Yonhap) Former South Korean Olympic figure skating champion Kim Yu-na performs on the ice at PyeongChang Olympic Stadium before lighting the cauldron during the opening ceremony at PyeongChang Olympic Stadium on Feb. 9, 2018. (Yonhap)

Kim also played an instrumental role in helping PyeongChang win the bid to host the Olympics. She was an active ambassador for PyeongChang's Winter Games bidding committee and gave a moving speech during the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Session in July 2011 in Durban, South Africa, where PyeongChang beat Germany's Munich and France's Annecy in a vote by IOC members.

Kim has also been one of the most visible honorary ambassadors for PyeongChang 2018 after it won the bid. She made numerous appearances to promote the first Winter Olympics in South Korea, and has been present at several important occasions alongside PyeongChang's leadership, including the United Nations' adoption of Olympic Truce last November.

The Olympic Cauldron for the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Games is lit by former figure skating gold medalist Kim Yu-na during the opening ceremony at PyeongChang Olympic Stadium on Feb. 9, 2018. (Yonhap) The Olympic Cauldron for the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Games is lit by former figure skating gold medalist Kim Yu-na during the opening ceremony at PyeongChang Olympic Stadium on Feb. 9, 2018. (Yonhap)

jeeho@yna.co.kr

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