2016 was rough so I’m sure people are happy that they’re turning the page. As always, I feature an up and coming skater on New Year’s Day here and this year, I actually had my pick ready for months.
Midway through the Grand Prix series, I stumbled upon a video of Jun Hwan Cha. Admittedly, I was curious of skaters coming out of South Korea as I wondered if Yuna Kim’s success has done anything to increase the sport’s popularity among young people there. Having lived in Hong Kong for a year, I know how hard it is to foster a sport like figure skating in a place where it’s not part of the local culture. Space is precious in most Asian countries as most people live in densely packed cities in tiny apartments. I didn’t realize how spoiled I was, growing up with two neighbourhood rinks run by the city, free to use by anyone who owned skates.
According to an article in the December 2016 International Figure Skating Magazine, Cha doesn’t have any idols but he does train with Brian Orser, which bodes well for his jumps and skating skills. It was also interesting to see him use Yuzuru’s difficult entry into the 3A in his LP this season. He can’t compete in Pyeongchang 2018 but the future looks bright for this young man.
Here’s a a lovely 2017! To everyone, I hope that you have a safe and prosperous new year!
~The Rinkside Cafe