wonder if Nike, the Ancient
Greek goddess of victory, has blessed her. On May 5, rhythmic gymnast
Son Yeon-jae won a bronze medal in the hoop final at the FIG Rhythmic
Gymnastics World Cup series in Sofia, Bulgaria with 17.800 points.
Yana Kudryavtseva of Russia came in first place with 18.250.
Son tied with Ukrainian Ganna Rizatdinova for third place. It is
meaningful to win a medal in Category A, the upper competition that
can compete with other world-class athletes. In
the individual all-around competition finished the previous day, Son Yeon-jae
placed fourth out of 21 with a combined score of 70.600
points: 17.550 points in ball, 17.400 points in club, and 17.850
points in ribbon.
In fact, Son focused on upgrading the artistic value of her performances
by changing all the music and movements in accordance with new codes of international rhythmic
gymnastics that were put in place from this season. She won a bronze
in ribbon at the 2013 Lisbon World Cup. In addition, she got a silver
medal in the ribbon finals at the 2013 Pesaro World Cup. That was
the first time a Korean athlete had ever won a silver medal in any
discipline at a rhythmic gymnastics World Cup.
Son came back to Korea to take part in a competition to select a
member of the national gymnastics team last Friday. There is tough
competition in rhythmic gymnastics from the athletes of Eastern
Europe, including Russia, known as the world’s most powerful country
in the sport. However, the fact that Son Yeon-jae has come this
far is already very inspiring. We believe her
hard efforts will continue to pay off.