American Figure Skaters Apply for South Korean Citizenship to Bolster Winter Olympic Chances
Two American figure skaters have applied for South Korean citizenship with an eye on competing at the country’s home 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang.
The Korea Skating Union (KSU) said Alexander Gamelin, an ice dance partner for South Korean Min Yu-ra, and Themistocles Lefttheris, a pairs partner for Korean Ji Min-ji, have both submitted their applications to the Korean Olympic Committee (KOC).
The two teams have been skating together at International Skating Union (ISU) events since June of last year, according to Yonhap.
At ISU competitions, as long as one member of a tandem is South Korean, that duo can compete under the South Korean flag.
At the Olympics, however, both members of a team must be South Korean citizens to represent the country.
Both duos still have a chance to compete in Pyeongchang because the host nation will receive additional spots in figure skating events for which it hasn’t already qualified, if they meet the ISU’s minimum score.
According to the KSU, both Americans embraced the idea of obtaining South Korean passports for the Olympics.
The review of their applications is expected to be completed in September.
South Korea has also looked at handing passports to other winter athletes ahead of Pyeongchang, where the host nation will be desperate for success.
German-born luger Aileen Frisch, Canadian ice hockey players Matt Dalton and Eric Regan and Russian biathletes Anna Frolina and Alexander Starodubets could all compete for the country.
By Max Winters
Republished with permission from insidethegames.biz