American-born figure skater closer to representing S. Korea in PyeongChang

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Alexander Gamelin, an ice dancer born in Boston, is now eligible to represent South Korea at the PyeongChang Winter Games, according to South Korean reports.

Gamelin completed a citizenship naturalization process and acquired a South Korean passport, according to Yonhap News Agency on Monday.

Gamelin, 24, has skated with Yura Min for the last two years after coupling with twin sister Danielle Gamelin for the prior 13 years until her retirement. Min was born in Torrance, Calif., to South Korean parents and holds dual citizenship.

South Korea has not yet qualified an ice dance spot for PyeongChang. One South Korean couple has competed in ice dance in Olympic history — a last-place finish at the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Games.

Min and Gamelin placed 20th out of 32 couples at the world championships in the spring as the lone South Korean couple (they were allowed to compete for South Korea outside of the Olympics because Min has citizenship). The cutoff for Olympic qualification was 18th place.

The last qualification event is in Germany in late September. The top five couples from countries not otherwise qualified get the last Olympic spots.

Min and Gamelin would be favorites to finish in the top five in Germany, given they ranked No. 3 in the world last year among couples from countries not yet qualified for PyeongChang. The next-best South Korean couple had a score nearly 40 points fewer than Min and Gamelin.

Even if Min and Gamelin don’t qualify a South Korean ice dance spot, they could still make the Olympics in the team event for the host nation, should South Korea qualify as one of the top 10 nations.

Gamelin is one of a host of athletes from around the world expected to compete for South Korea in PyeongChang as a naturalized citizen. There are also American and Canadian hockey players, Russian biathletes and a German luger, athletes in sports where South Korea does not excel.

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