Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Olympic-Bound North Korean Figure Skaters Trained in Canada

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Olympic-Bound North Korean Figure Skaters Trained in Canada

Article excerpt

North Korean figure skaters trained in Canada

--

MONTREAL - The North Korean figure skaters who have been cleared to compete at the Winter Games in South Korea next month have a Canadian connection.

Pairs team Ryom Tae-ok and Kim Ju-sik, the only North Korean athletes to qualify for the Games, worked under coach Bruno Marcotte in Montreal last summer on a routine devised with his sister, choreographer Julie Marcotte, and performed to Ginette Reno's song "Je ne suis qu'une chanson."

"They're very good," Bruno Marcotte said this week. "There's been a lot of talk about the political consequences but what has been overlooked is that they qualified. They earned the right to be there."

An agreement reached Tuesday in border talks between North and South Korea would see the north send a delegation to the Olympics, which open Feb. 9 in Pyeongchang, South Korea. They were the first talks between the two Koreas in more than two years and appear to herald a thaw in relations between the two sides, despite the north's widely condemned nuclear missiles tests.

North Korea had missed the deadline to compete, but the International Olympic Committee extended it on Monday in anticipation of an agreement.

IOC president Thomas Bach "warmly welcomed" the agreement and called it "a first step forward in the Olympic spirit." The IOC will study details of the north's participation before giving its final approval.

Under the agreement, North Korea is to send athletes, a cheerleading squad, a cultural performance troupe and a Tae Kwan Do demonstration team as well as an Olympic committee delegation, observers and media to Pyeongchang.

Marcotte said Ryom and Kim approached him at the world championships in Helsinki in April about working together. They were fans of his star pairs team Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford, the 2015 and 2016 world champions and silver medallists at the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi.

Marcotte, 43, who married 32-year-old Duhamel in 2015, said it was chaotic at first. Approvals from various sports and government bodies were needed to secure visas for the skaters, their own coach and a North Korean figure skating federation official, who was the only one who could speak English. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.