Kim Sung-Jin


"Time for a new chapter"

Photo : Thomas Trégaro
Photo : Thomas Trégaro

World #2 Freestyle (Jan.13)

2012 Facts:
- 9 competitions in 2012
- Best 4: 1300 (Total score: 2258)

Last July, for the first time in 21 consecutive months, the Freestyle crown has changed heads. Korean Kim Sung Jin's reign was the longest in the history of Freestyle, and French Romain Lebois put an end to it. It is not a complete failure though, as the two competitors score the same number of points at their Best 4: They were separated according to their number of competitions in the season, relegating the former king to the silver step (9 vs. 26 competitions in 2012).
However, the King of Freestyle is getting weary and is shifting to a new life with new challenges… Touring with a circus, why not?

How come you are only second this year ?
I didn’t compete so much last year compared to Romain Lebois. As you know, according to the rule of World Ranking System, I am currently at the 2nd place of the ranking even though we got the same points at the Best 4.
On the other hand, as I’ve competed for 10 years since 2003, it seems that my motivation, or desire for competition has decreased gradually. Looking back, one of my motivations for competitions was the World Ranking. Even though I had already got many world champion titles each year since 2005, I was not the top world ranker anymore when the World Ranking System was created, because I had stopped skating to study for University.
So, it was a good motivation as well as a main purpose for me to keep improving my skating & competing, but now I don’t have that kind of motivation or purpose because I have already achieved it, and I do realize that it is time to find something new to motivate me again.

Can you list your major titles of 2012 ?
The best one was in Namwon Korea Open 2012 in April. I got 3 gold medals in Classic & Pair & Freestyle Battle, and 1 bronze medal in Speed Slalom.
At the PSWC 2012, I won the Classic, and unfortunately missed the 4th consecutive champion title, but got the second-place in Freestyle Battle.
At the 2012 WFSC in Lishui, China, I got the world title in Classic for the second year in a row after the 2011 WFSC in Geisingen, Germany. And I also got the world title in Pair Slalom.
Lastly, at the 2012 Asian Championships, I couldn’t get a result as good as at the previous year in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, but still “not bad”: I got the 2nd place in Classic and the Asian title in Pair Slalom.

What is the 2012 performance you are the proudest of ?
Although my performance wasn’t so good, I’d like to choose the Asian Championships because I tried something new to me at that time. It was quite weird to show more dance than slalom before my run, but I am actually satisfied with what I could do regardless of the ranking, which was kind of bad (note: second). And it improved my mind even though the result of the competition was not the best. New Challenges always make me proud of myself !


2012 Asian Championships -- Classic Performance

Do you want to reconquer the world leadership next year ?
I would like to if I had enough time, but I think it should be a waste time for me to do it again because I already “Reconquered” when the World Ranking System came in, and it is time to think about my future. I don’t think I can not do the recent hardest tricks that the Chinese skaters, Romain Lebois, etc. are doing now, but obviously it will take quite a long time to master them. That is the reason. It will take long time & tire me, but would not be so useful for my future compared to the time I should spend for that, so I don’t want to waste my time to practice & get the place back just to keep the same place up, which I’ve already had for several years.
However, I would like to compete for fun if I have the chance later, though it would be after my military service.

You are a superstar, you won everything, travelled the world, what more can you get out of competition ?
No… I don’t think I am a superstar, but I may be one of the stars in Slalom.
Anyway, I could get many experiences all around the world thanks to my skating, but as I’ve competed for 10 years, I started feeling quite tired of these things, and thinking it is time to find something new for me, only for myself!
Meanwhile, the world-wide circus company “Cirque Eloize” contacted me to perform in their show “iD”. I felt like doing it because it was something new to me, so I contracted with them at the end of last year, already finished the US Tour, and am on Paris Tour now! Time goes so fast!
At the beginning, it was so unfamiliar to me because it was totally different from the “Slalom World”, and it was the first time I worked in a circus, but I slowly recognize that it offers me another life and new experiences that I couldn’t get when I competed!

Cirque Eloize "iD" Presentation Clip

What new challenges do you have in being part of a circus company ?
It is more about skating & acting & dancing altogether. As a skater, the floor of the stage is the biggest worry because the situations of the floor are changing in every country & theater. Most of the floors are quite slippery, bumpy & small, which is the worst for skaters :S
Furthermore, I am having trouble with languages because it is a Canadian (Montreal) company, which speaks French as the main language. So whenever they speak French, I can not understand a thing :S It should be a quite big problem to me now, but I am studying French slowly to change the crisis into opportunities.
Whatever, I think it should be a good experience for my future.

So you are taking Xuan Le's part. Is it pure coincidence ?
Yes, it is a pure coincidence. As far as I know, Xuan left the company, and they searched for another skater suitable for the show… and they found me.

What will your life look like in 2013 ?
I should go to military service, and I should also finish my diploma at the University, so I can not guess even myself what is going to happen.
About the military service, especially, I already postponed it 3 years for Slalom & for the Company, but it is a real loss & damage to postpone the military service in Korea because it delays my career in my future life. And it is already quite big loss & damage for me now. I hope I will not go into military service this year, but I am not so sure about what is going to happen…?

What are your forecasts for the next world Top 5 ?
Well, who will be going out? If I guess…. I don’t know…  Hahaha
I hope new people that we’ve never heard about will come out, to surprise us all!

Photo : Thomas Trégaro
Photo : Thomas Trégaro


Interview by Chloe Seyres for / January 2013