Juwon Chun Granada Hills Charter High 11th Grade
Curling has been gaining mass popularity in South Korea as the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics started. It may be mainly due to the fact that the South Korean women’s curling team, ranked 8th according to the World Curling Federation(WCF), had won against the Canadian women’s curling team, ranked 1st on the WCF, 8-6 on February 15. Although the South Korean team lost to Canada in the next match against them, they did not disappoint as they won against a tense game with Japan 8-7 in the semifinals, earning them 2nd place. The interest in curling has soared up due to the team’s execution of delivering the improbable and bringing home the silver.
The sport of curling now gains even more popularity after being created a meme. The team’s skip Eun Jung Kim is known to have a serious face through all the ups and downs of the matches, even as she eats her banana. However, there is one exception: when she yells out,
“Yeong-mi!”, the name of the team’s lead. This is her method of indicating her teammate to sweep harder. The indication became Eun Jung’s trademark and went viral in social media. From young elementary students to grown adults, curling has gained the popularity of a wide spectrum of Koreans. Soon enough within the period of two weeks, Koreans across the nation were posting videos of parodies that further increased the popularity of curling in South Korea. Eun Jung Kim, Yeong Mi Kim, as well as the rest of the team-Seon Yeong Kim and Kyeong Ae Kim(Yeong Mi’s sister)-have become somewhat of comedic/heroic public figures who represent curling.
Eun Jung and Yeong Mi are childhood friends while Kyeong Ae and Seon Yeong go back a couple of years. The team members all graduated from the same high school located in Euiseong famous for its garlic, giving them the nickname of “Garlic Girls”. Eun Jung and Yeong Mi decided to join the curling after-school activity for fun in 2006, when the first curling stadium was made in South Korea. Kyeong Ae started the curling when she watched her sister play as she ran an errand, and it was not long after that Seon Yeong joined.
It was not until the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics that curling has been getting the spotlight, mainly because South Korea’s world ranking on women’s curling was too low to qualify for the Olympics. The four women have played a major role in introducing the world of curling to their society through all their hard work in coming up to the Olympics. Now, as the women’s curling team won silver and became viral, they have definitely earned the love and respect of their proud nation.
<Juwon Chun Granada Hills Charter High 11th Grade