Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Please make an exception - just this once

For more recent criticism of the media, Feetman Seoul looks at the poor photos the local press took of Paris Hilton in a Hanbok, While Korea Beat looks at the shockingly inappopriate headline of a Sports Hankook Ilbo story about a 15 year-old girl who was forced into prostitution.]

This Donga Ilbo article is amusing:
Korean figure skating sensation Kim Yu-na (17, Gunpo Suri High School) is rewriting the history of her sport.
Yes, I did say the Donga Ilbo, and not the Rodong Shinmun. And thanks, Kim Seong-gyu, for letting us know she was Korean. That was really necessary.
In March, Kim received a short program record score of 71.95 in the Tokyo Figure Skating Championships, and now is the record holder in both short program and free skating scores.

Kim set a record score in the free skate competition with 133 points to take home the Russian Cup in the fifth 2007-2008 Grand Prix at the Khodynka Ice Palace in Moscow yesterday. She won the Cup with a total of 197.20 points, including the 63.50 she received in the short program the day before. 197.20 is Kim Yu-na’s best aggregate score ever.[...]

Although her world ranking is second, trailing behind rival Asada Mao of Japan, this record is as good as ‘proclaiming’ her the current world champion.
No, it's not. Next we'll be told that the fact that she performed flawlessly during all of her practices this month "is as good as ‘proclaiming’ her the current world champion". The same logic is to be found in people saying, "Well, in the 2006 World Cup, Korea tied France, and France beat Brazil, so therefor Korea beat Brazil." Sure it does. Sorry, but the way sports events work is by choosing one competition to be "the big one", the one that determines the world ranking of the participants. All the first place rankings in competitions this year don't mean anything when it comes time for the world championships. It's like the university entrance exam - your 98% average for the past three years of high school means nothing if you blow the exam. I realize that for a great many things, knowing someone and appealing to them can give you a leg up. I know that, quite often, asking for a favour from your cousin's friend's elementary school classmate will allow you to bend the rules in Korea. Korea is not the world, however. I would be surprised if Kim Yu-na didn't bring home a gold medal or world championship at some point, but while she's proven herself to be ready for the big leagues, the attention craving cheap nationalism and faulty logic that lies behind this article shows that the media in Korea, and a whole lot besides, is not.

At least the Joongang Ilbo remembered that there was more to the Cup of Russia than just the ladies competition.

Kim's programs can be seen here and here.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great points. It does come down to the big competitions, World Championships and the Olympic Games. The true test is when the chips are down. Total points accumulated in any competition depend on several factors, the technical panel, the judges' grades of execution and components (artistic scores), which by their nature are relative. Margins are smaller in events with more skaters. Grand Prix events are small, with one or two top skaters entered, usually.

Kim Yu-Na is certainly one of three top contenders for World Champion, the first Korea has ever had (and they have no great legacy of great skaters). She is an exciting talent, and it is tempting to rush in and strap her with overwhelming expectations. Don't make the same mistake the Japanese Media made with Midori Ito in 1992. They put so much pressure on her that she crumbled in the Olympics.