“Next season, our goal is to gain as much experience as possible and set two new personal bests. We also plan to compete in Challenger competitions, depending on our Grand Prix assignments.”
The 2022-2023 season marked a turning point for Korean figure skating. In their first ever team event, the Korean figure skaters won a prized silver medal at the International Ice Skating Union (ISU) World Team Trophy. They were able to compete in this event due to the presence of mixed discipline athletes. In particular, the ‘hope of ice dancing’ pair of Lim Hae-na (19) and Ye Kwan (22) were the ‘pioneers’ of Korean ice dancing.
Im is a dual citizen (Korean-Canadian) born to Korean parents. A Chinese-Canadian, Ye Quan competed in the World Team Trophy under the flag of her partner’s country, Korea.
Sharing the stage with Korea’s men’s and women’s singles representatives Cha Jun-hwan (22, Korea University) and Lee Si-hyung (23), and the pair of Kim Yerim (20, Dankook University) and Lee Hae-in (18, Sewha Girls’ High School), the pair earned personal best scores in their free dance (109.27) and total (179.23).
Having competed in the junior ranks until last season, this was their first time facing off against a strong senior field. Despite finishing sixth out of six teams in the ice dance category, they finished the season on a high note, improving on their personal best scores.
After the World Team Trophy, the team stayed in Korea for a short time before traveling to Canada to train. While training at the YRSA Skating Club in Montreal, Canada, home to some of the world’s top ice dancers, the duo gave a written interview to Sporting News.
They are currently busy working on a new program that will be presented on stage next season. “Preparations (for the new program) are going well,” said Lim and Ye Quan. We’re working really hard on our new senior program, and we’re practicing different styles of dance,” they said.
“It’s fun to discover and practice new elements, including lifts, twizzles, spins, and more.”
Last season, Lim Hae-Na-Ye-Kwan became the first Korean ice dancer to win gold at the ISU Junior Grand Prix. They also won silver medals at both the Junior Grand Prix Final and the Junior World Championships.
After performing so well in the junior ranks, they will make their senior debut in the 2023-2024 season. Due to the nature of the sport, there is a large gap between the junior and senior levels of ice dancing. It requires a lot of time compared to a single event because the two skaters must work together to create the finished product.
At the World Team Trophy, Lim Hae-Na-Ye-Kwan scored a personal best, but only placed sixth. She needs to be patient to close the gap with the top senior skaters.
“We are a little nervous about going to the senior stage. However, we don’t expect much from ourselves, so we are more excited than nervous.”
“Next season is our debut season (as seniors), so we may not win any medals right away. But we will do our best to gain as much experience as possible and continue to improve.”
Lim Hae-na and Ye-kwan made their presence felt on the international stage last season. Not only did they make history in Korean ice dancing, but they also grew into a medal-competitive team at international competitions. But the best gift they received was “trust in their partners,” they said.
“In ice dancing, it’s essential to trust your partner and have a good relationship with them,” says Lim Hae-na-Yequan. We now trust each other 100 percent, and I think we will continue to improve in the future.”
We also got a sneak peek at a new program for our senior debut season. Next season’s rhythmic dance program will be to pop and rock star Prince. Currently, rhythmic dance is being finalized and free dance is being focused on.
Both rhythmic dance and free dance were created by one of their coaches and choreographer Marie-France Dubreuil.
In order to become a world-class ice dance team, they have left Korea and are currently practicing in Montreal, Canada. But their pride in representing Korea on the ice has only grown stronger. Competing at the World Team Trophy has strengthened their friendships with their Korean teammates. The memories of their short time in Korea have also given them a lot of strength.
“What I miss most about leaving Korea is my family,” says Lim. Also, my favorite thing about Korea is ‘home-cooked meals,'” she said. “Her family is very kind,” said Ye Quan. That’s why I miss them the most when I leave Korea.”
Their closest teammates during the World Team Trophy were Lee Si-hyung and Kim Yerim. “I became close to all of my teammates, but especially (Lee) Si-hyung and (Kim) Yerim,” Lim Hae-na-Yequan said.
She recently went camping with her ice dancing teammates to refresh herself. They can’t wait to get back on the ice and meet their fans, and their goal for their debut senior season is to “beat their personal best scores twice.”
“Our goal for next season is to gain as much experience as possible and set two new personal bests,” said Lim Hae-na-Yequan. “We will be competing in a few events in Canada. We haven’t decided which Grand Prix we’ll be in yet, but we’ll be doing some challenge races to go along with the Grand Prix we’re in.”
Their ultimate goal is to represent Korea at the 2026 Winter Olympics in Milan-Cortina d’Ampezzo. Unlike ISU events, the Olympic Games require both athletes to be of the same nationality to compete as an ice dance team. Ye Quan’s special naturalization process is currently underway. After dominating the junior ranks in the 2023-2024 season, Lim Hae-na-Yequan’s ‘Countdown to the Olympics’ has passed its starting point. 토토사이트