| DURBAN, South Africa, July 5
DURBAN, South Africa, July 5 Borrowed skates, a
tiny ice ring and a surface resembling a cheese grater, Olympic
figure skating champion Kim Yuna found herself in unfamiliar
territory on Tuesday as she pitched South Korea's 2018 winter
The International Olympic Committee will choose the winning
bid on Wednesday with South Korea's Pyeongchang running against
Germany's Munich and France's Annecy.
Kim, who won gold at the Vancouver Olympics last year, is
part of the Korean city's bid team and will be pitching their
proposal to the IOC hours before the vote.
On Tuesday, "Queen Yuna", as she is known to her fans, held
court at Durban's ice ring, a far cry from the world's showcase
stadiums in which she usually competes.
Kim tentatively took a few steps on the rough ice before
quickly grabbing an assistant's arm as she slipped and stumbled
to the centre, watching a dozen young girls twirling around her.
"These skates are not mine," she told Reuters. "I borrowed
them. This all is so different from what I am used to."
"I saw the ice ring on the way to the hotel. But it is too
small to practise," she said.
Kim, however, said she would be more sure of herself when
she pitches the bid to IOC members, having already done one
presentation in Lausanne, Switzerland, in May.
"I am a little excited and a little nervous at the same time
but I have experienced already one presentation," she said.
Pyeongchang looks to have a slight edge over Munich in its
third consecutive candidacy, after narrowly missing out on the
2010 and 2014 Games.
"Our team has been preparing the bid for almost 10 years
now. I am athlete and I have been inspired by other skaters. I
hope that young skaters will be inspired by Pyeongchang's bid,"
Kim said as she hobbled off the ice.
(Editing by Ed Osmond)