Extra! Korea

July 8, 2009

What makes Kim Yu-na a champion figure skater? Her small face

Filed under: pseudoscience, sports — extrakorea @ 3:47 am

There’s an interesting article about sports figures in the Dong-ah Ilbo.

Lee Seong-ho, editor-in-chief of the monthly MFight, described the Russian fighter [Fedor Emelianenko] as having soft muscles on top of hard ones. “The reason why he`s so flexible is due to his soft muscles, which work as armor,” Lee said.

Despite exercising regularly, I’ve been discouraged by the fact that I still have a layer of fat over my muscles. I needn’t have worried. Those are just my “soft muscles,” which will act like armor if any street hoodlum is foolish enough to try to mug me.

Lee Ji-hee, vice chairwoman of the Korea Skating Union and an international judge, said Kim [Yu-na] has the “ultimate” body for figure skating: a small face, a properly thin body, and long arms and legs.

Having a big face increases your centrifugal force, which makes you more likely to lose your balance when you spin or do a double Axel. There’s nothing more disappointing to see than a big-faced figure skater spinning out of control. I remember one such skater lamenting, “If only I had a smaller face. Why have I been cursed like this?” Look at Michelle Kwan. How could she have been a five-time world champion if she had had a bigger face?

“With her ability to express her physique beautifully, she is matchless,” said Lee Ji-hee, vice chairman of the Korea Skating Union and an international judge.

OK, it’s true that her long limbs make her movements more graceful and aesthetic. However, champion skaters come in more than one shape. Midori Ito had short, stubby legs, but she was the most powerful jumper I’ve ever seen. When she was competitive, she was unique in that she used, more-or-less, the same jumps that the male competitors were doing.

And the fact that Lee Ji-hee is vice-chairman of the Korea Skating Union and an international judge needs to be repeated a third time.

This is why medical professionals in Korea scare me, and they should scare you, too. You can’t know if they passed their medical exams legitimately or if they cheated.

4 Comments »

  1. “Having a big face increases your centrifugal force, which makes you more likely to lose your balance when you spin or do a double Axel.”

    Maybe if you’ve got a big head on a small frame like hers.

    Comment by Teadrinker — July 10, 2009 @ 4:21 pm

  2. “However, champion skaters come in more than one shape.”

    Elvis Stojko. He looked more like a hockey player than a figure skater…but, boy did that guy hit those jumps.

    Comment by Teadrinker — July 10, 2009 @ 4:22 pm

  3. […] Yu-na (김연아) is a champion skater primarily because of her small face. For the details, see here, and see here and here for where such a crazed logic stems […]

    Pingback by Korean Gender Reader: July 13 2009 « The Grand Narrative — July 14, 2009 @ 5:27 am

  4. Our sense of balance comes from our ears. If our ears are further apart, surely that would give us a more finely tuned sense of balance as you would better sense the smallest of changes. Hard to explain, but makes sense if you think about it geometrically. By that logic, the bigger your head, the better you skate!

    I don’t necessarily believe that, but it makes as much sense to me as the comments from the article.

    International judge? This woman defies belief.

    Comment by Seamus Walsh — July 15, 2009 @ 2:35 am


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