GANGNEUNG, South Korea (AP) – As she sat in the kiss-and-cry area awaiting the marks, Yura Min already had tears rolling down her cheeks. And when she saw the short dance numbers from the judges for her and partner Alexander Gamelin, she bawled like a baby.
The two Americans who are representing South Korea in these Olympics – Min has Korean heritage and Gamelin passed a citizenship test to become eligible, in part by reciting the country’s national anthem – got 61.22 points Monday, enough to make the cut for the free dance. They were 16th out of 20 couples.
“Oh my God,” she exclaimed. “I knew it would be tough to qualify for the free dance and there is such a deep field here. The best dancers in the world are here.
“All we could ask for was to put out our best performance, and we did. It’s the most amazing feeling.”
Min, from California, and Gamelin, of Long Island, have skated together since 2015 after he spent a decade competing with his twin sister. The connection with Min worked immediately, and the duo finished 20th at last year’s world championships.
Now, they are the host country’s ice dance team in the Olympics.
“Having done this, it’s absolutely awesome,” Min said.
“The energy from the crowd gave us that extra burst,” Gamelin added.
Min famously had a wardrobe malfunction during the team short dance, with a hook popping at the beginning of the routine. She continued, keeping the costume up for the entire program despite having thoughts of stopping.
“I was wondering, ‘should we keep going?'” she recalled. “But it’s the Olympics, so you keep going.”
No such worries this time, and she’s thrilled to be remembered for something else at these games.
“The worst part is sitting there waiting for the score,” she said. “We knew we skated well, but was it good enough.”