For any sportsperson, the Olympics are the dream. You train for it your whole life, day and night, sometimes both. The Olympic podium is the only thing that sustains you through the grueling training sessions, strict diet plans and the expense of becoming an athlete.
For Yura Min of South Korea, this dream had come true. The 22-year-old South Korean figure skater was ready to give the performance of her life on the ice at the 2018 Winter Olympics. The young athlete was already under immense pressure given her home country was hosting the games, but during her performance, something happened which only served to intensify this pressure.
Min looked radiant in a bright red dress as she took to the ice in Pyeongchang with her partner, Alexander Gamelin. The eye-catching outfit was guaranteed to ensure that the California-born ice dancer was remembered, but little did she know at the time just how much attention the crystal-embellished costume would attract.
Mere seconds into Min’s performance, the strap on the rear of her costume became unhooked, leaving the professional skater with no choice but to readjust her style mid-routine. Keeping her shoulders as upright as possible, Min managed to conceal a majority of the strain she was feeling from her faulty costume.
“I was like, ‘Oh no!'” Min told The Detroit Free Press. “If that comes undone, the whole thing could just pop off. I was terrified the entire program.” Talking to the Associated Press, she added: “That wouldn’t be the most ideal Olympic experience, obviously.”
Sadly, the costume presented enough of a problem that Min had to defer from her routine to adjust it briefly. Although, to the untrained eye this action was barely noticeable, to the judges it was a grave offense which saw the duo placed second to last.
This wasn’t the first hurdle that Min and Gamelin faced in their Olympic dream. Indeed, Boston-born Gamelin had to study Korean and sing the South Korean national anthem as part of an exam for dual citizenship – something Min already had despite being born and raised in the US.
In addition, the duo missed out on qualifying for the Olympics at the world championships, qualifying instead at the Nebelhorn Trophy Competition. Despite both having been born and raised in the US, the pair represented South Korea where it was easier for them to qualify.
Irritatingly Min’s wardrobe malfunction was incredibly rare. Given the nature of the sport and the importance of the Olympics, any costume worn is usually tested rigorously to ensure that it won’t present any problems during the proper performance.
“You would never wear a costume in an event like that that you hadn’t previously skated in,” Barbara DeLaney-Smith, a skating instructor, told the New York Times. “But, as we all know, stuff happens.”
“Skaters are trained to finish their program pretty much no matter what,” said DeLaney-Smith. “There’s no stopping.”
Meanwhile, legendary designer Vera Wang, who has crafted many ice skating costumes, explained how the design process for these type of outfits is “not for the faint of heart.”
“If one strap were to break, or if the beading on the sleeve gets caught when they turn, their whole Olympics is over. That is how serious it is. It’s absolutely nightmarish!” she told People.
Luckily Min was able to laugh about the unfortunate incident. Taking to Twitter after the event she jokingly typed: “I promise to sew myself in for the individual event. I would like to thank the audience for keeping us going until the end. Couldn’t have done it without you guys.”
Let this be a lesson to you to always road test your outfit first! We wish Min all the best in the individual event!
Watch Min and Gamelin’s full performance here: