chapter  8
14 Pages

Nationalizing the balletic body in Olympic figure skating

ByChuyun Oh

Drawing on theories from performance studies, critical dance studies, and cultural studies, the author pays a close attention to Yuna Kim’s free skating performance at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. Employing discourse analysis, the author analyzes media coverage, including Sports Chosun, Sports Seoul, and SBS television commentary, some of the major sports news and broadcasting companies in Korea. The author contends that the produced narrative of Kim at the Olympics demonstrates broader structural issues of gendered, racialized, and classed nationalism. It exhibits Korea’s desire for conforming to and/or resisting postcolonial anxiety shaped by local and global statuses in relation to the U.S. and Japan. Kim’s performance and her medal embody the “Korean dream” symbolized by upward class mobility and a hardworking as well as ethnic and national identity passing in a glocal frame through her silenced labor and subservient balletic body on the ice.