Yuna Kim makes South Korea sports Hall of Fame after reported rule change
Vancouver Olympic champion figure skater Yuna Kim became the ninth and youngest person inducted into South Korea’s sports Hall of Fame on Wednesday, according to South Korean media.
Kim, 26, would have made it last year -- receiving 80 percent of a vote -- but was ineligible due to a mandate that inductees must be 50 years or older, according to the JoongAng Ilbo newspaper, which reported the rule was abolished this year.
“Those who were inducted into the Hall of Fame were veterans for sports community, and I feel that I’m too young and not qualified to be named a sports hero,” Kim said Wednesday, according to Yonhap News Agency.
Kim made the Hall of Fame this year over candidates including the first South Korean Major League Baseball player (Chan-Ho Park), the first South Korean to win an LPGA Tour event (Se Ri Pak) and South Korea’s all-time national soccer team goals leader (Cha Bum-kun).
Others already in the Hall of Fame include Sohn Kee-chung, who won the 1936 Olympic marathon while South Korea was under Japanese rule, and wrestler Yang Jung-mo, who won the first Olympic gold medal for South Korea as an independent nation at Montreal 1976.
Kim retired after taking a controversial silver medal at the 2014 Sochi Olympics and is now a prominent ambassador for the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Games, the first Winter Olympics in South Korea.