Behind Chaeyeon Kim's first senior Grand Prix medal

November 17, 2023
By Krystal Yeung
Photo © Krystal Yeung

Making her senior Grand Prix debut at Skate Canada International, 2023 CS Nepela Memorial gold medalist Chaeyeon Kim wowed the audience, passed the 70 points barrier in the short program, and then scored 130.84 in her free program. With a total score of 201.15, she took home her first Grand Prix silver medal. Chaeyeon found time to talk to us after the gala, sharing her impressions from this event and more.

It was your first senior Grand Prix event, how do you feel about it?

I was very nervous coming into the Grand Prix, but I am very happy to be able to win a medal here. It also feels great to compete with great skaters!

What do you think about Canada? Did you have time for sightseeing?

It was colder than I thought, but it's a beautiful city. Before the competition, I spent some time walking around, the sea and the shore, it was beautiful.

Last season you finished fourth at the Four Continents and sixth at Worlds, what are your goals for this season?

I really want to push my personal best scores, and go to the Grand Prix Final. That would be great.

Are there some specific areas in your skating that you want to work on?

I think both skating clean and performing all the elements well and without mistakes are important. I also want to work harder on my expression and perform beautifully. This season I want to work on my presentation scores and hopefully give it a push.

Korea has a lot of talented female single skaters, anyone specific you'd like to learn from?

Haeinie Unnie ("elder sister Haein" Lee) and Yelimie Unnie ("elder sister Yelim" Kim) can skate more maturely. I want to learn that [from them]. And I also want to learn jumps from Jia (Shin, two-time World Junior silver medalist and national champion).

Are there any skaters you want to be friends with? Did you meet any new friends here in Skate Canada?

want to leave an impression on any cool skaters. It's my first time meeting Rino (Matsuike), I think we got a bit closer! A bit!

Can you tell more about how you started skating?

There were experiential learning opportunities in my primary school, and I went skating. In the third grade, I went skating during my winter experiential learning class for a day or two, and it was fun. Then, I started skating as a leisure activity and hobby when I was in the fourth grade, and I began thinking of pursuing a career as an athlete. In the fifth grade, I started my life as an athlete.

I understand that your mom didn't think that was a good idea initially, how did you talk it through with her?

My mom thought skating was an expensive sport that required a lot of money. But I told her it is something that I really like and enjoy.

And now she is the one who makes all your costumes! Can you tell us more about the process in general and your costumes for this season?

My mom will first discuss with my coach and then figure out the initial design. She will then show me the draft. If I'm fine with the draft, we will do sizing and sewing.

For the short program, we chose a colour that resembles wine. We also went for a more mature design. As for the free skate, we went for black. The frills on the costume portray the ocean's waves, and we have the cross above. The cross was inspired by the movie, where there's an imagery of the cross.

Seems like you like red and green, you have many costumes of those colours!

Actually, I like black and white. (laughs)

Do you have any plans towards your next Grand Prix assignment?

I don't really have any specific plans for the Grand Prix in Espoo, I will just be working hard.

Is there anything specific you plan to work on?

First of all, on jumps, I want to execute them all cleanly. I also want to improve my levels on spins as well. It would be great if I can improve my presentation scores a little bit, too.

Is there any message you want to pass to your fans?

Thank you for always rooting for me. I hope you can continue to support me in the future!

Having secured a silver at Skate Canada, Chaeyeon has the chance to qualify for the Grand Prix Final if her performance in Espoo is equally impressive. So let's keep our fingers crossed for her to achieve one of the goals she shared with us in this talk.

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