Kim Yu-na couldn’t reclaim her World Championship figure skating title over the weekend. But she showed why she’s captured the hearts of South Koreans and has become the country’s most sought-after celebrity for business endorsements and commercials. After finishing in second place to Japan’s Miki Ando, Ms. Kim announced she would give her $27,000 prize money to UNICEF to support children in Japan who were hurt or made homeless by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.
Ms. Kim is a goodwill ambassador for UNICEF and sent 100 million won, or about $90,000, last year to earthquake victims in Haiti. Japanese media said little about Ms. Kim’s donation. Media in the two countries have played up the competition between Ms. Kim and another Japanese skater, Mao Asada, as part of the broader sports rivalry between South Korea and Japan.
Ahead of the skating championship, some South Korean sports reporters speculated the judges and spectators in Moscow may favor Japanese skaters, isolating Ms. Kim. But she led after the short program on the first night of competition Friday despite making a mistake on her first jump. During the longer portion on the second night, she bobbled two jumps and finished less than a point behind Ms. Ando.
Yuna Kim – World Champs 2011 FS Homage to Korea
Yuna Kim – 2011 World Figure Skating Championships /em>