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2 U.S. figure skaters apply for S. Korean citizenship ahead of PyeongChang Winter Games

All Headlines 19:16 August 29, 2016

SEOUL, Aug. 29 (Yonhap) -- Two American figure skaters have applied for South Korean citizenship with an eye on competing at the 2018 Winter Olympics here, officials said Monday.

The Korea Skating Union (KSU) said Alexander Gamelin, an ice dance partner for South Korean Min Yu-ra, and Themistocles Lefttheris, a pairs partner for South Korea's Ji Min-ji, have submitted their applications for fast-track naturalization to the Korean Olympic Committee (KOC).

The two teams have been skating together at the International Skating Union (ISU) events since June last year.

At ISU competitions, as long as one member of a tandem is South Korean, that duo can compete under the South Korean flag. At the Olympics, however, both members of a team must be South Korean citizens to represent the country.

The 2018 Winter Games will be held in PyeongChang, Gangwon Province.

While the two teams haven't skated well internationally, they will still have a chance to compete in PyeongChang because the host nation will receive additional spots in figure skating events for which it hasn't already qualified. They must meet the ISU's minimum score.

According to the KSU, both Americans embraced the idea of obtaining South Korean passports for the Olympics. The review of their applications is expected to be completed sometime in September.

jeeho@yna.co.kr
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