Tuesday, December 16, 2008

No room for seconds

[Update: The Korea Times has the cyber attack story here.]

Photo from here.

You know, I was starting to get annoyed at the media coverage of figure skater Kim Yu-na's 'failure' on the weekend, what with the Korea Times and Herald cribbing from Yonhap, leading to a 'three-peat' of the headline (and article) "Kim Yu-na Fails to Win Third Straight Grand Prix Title," the Chosun Ilbo writing, "Her failure to win the Grand Prix Final three years in a row is only the beginning of a new journey ahead of her," and the Joongang Ilbo writing of her "mistake-filled free skate" (before explaining that "Kim managed only a single rotation on her triple lutz, normally her strong jump, for the second straight day and then fell on her triple salchow in the latter part of her program," indicating that she'd made all of two mistakes). But, just when you're starting to think that the media are acting more prickish than usual toward an "underperforming" athlete (ie. one that does not win gold), you read of Japanese netizens leading a cyber attack on VANK. The reason?
According to VANK, Korean netizens started the fight by crashing a Japanese site after Japanese figure skater Asada Mao beat Korean figure skater Kim Yun-a in the Grand Prix final in Goyang, Korea on Saturday.
You can always count on this breed of netizen to make the media look good, though to be sure, the media will never be as entertaining as these keyboard warriors trying to crash a Japanese portal into the Pacific. They would never actually want to sink the Japanese Islands, of course, because if they did, the sea that shall remain unnamed would simply become the Pacific Ocean, and good luck trying to change that name, VANK. It's funny how my suggestion to change the sea that shall remain unnamed to the "West Sea" (seeing as its west of Japan) is always met with utter incomprehension.

Anyways, to be fair, the aforementioned Joongang Ilbo article is actually lengthy and the best article of the bunch, relaying this quote: “It’s wonderful to have a rival like Yu-na,” Asada said. “We motivate each other and I’d like to keep having this motivation of each other.” This reminds me of the photo they took together almost two years ago titled, "we are rivals and friends".

Too bad these netizens - on both sides - can't get more into this spirit. But then, that's sports nationalism for you. As for other articles that are not so critical, a Yonhap article titled "Everybody's in love with Kim Yu-na, and so is the market" tells us that "Kim, an 18-year-old figure skater who took silver at the Grand Prix Final before an adoring home crowd this weekend signed a two-year sponsorship deal Monday with South Korea's top automaker, Hyundai Motors." It seems Hyundai isn't too concerned about her "failure," though the Korea Herald notes possible reasons for that:

The company said that it decided to sponsor Kim as her image is compatible with the brand image the carmaker is promoting for itself.

The figure skater has become one of the most popular celebrities for commercial advertisements. According to reports, a milk brand advertised by Kim has seen sales jump six times while the sales of a bakery chain's new product bearing her name is increasing at a rate 3.5 times faster than similar new products.

Perhaps she'll be able to help stem the tide for Hyundai during this economic downturn. To be sure, this isn't the largest product she's ever advertised for:

As for the Korean netizens on the attack after she won the silver, perhaps it was just the preliminary for this competition.

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