Proud uncle side-note: my sister-in-law caught my nephew's first steps on video. Yeh.
Now in other "Videos of awesome things" news: Kim Yu-na.
As you know, somewhere in every philosopher's mind is a little cave carved out by a cat named Plato, where the most perfect, flawless form of everything in the universe exists in its unsullied state.
Somewhere in there, there's a little, perfect TV playing this Figure Skating women's short program:
Watch it once: just watch it. Even the TV announcers realize they're watching something flippin' awesome, and shut up, about halfway through the program.
Kim Yu-na (the Korean way, with the family name first) or Yu-na Kim (the western way, with the family name last), is a teen-aged figure skating phenomenon out of Seoul. She's only eighteen years old now, and she's been kicking the crap out of the ladies' singles category for a few years already. She's telegenic and cute: she appears in TV commercials here in Korea and sells, better than most of Korea's other "Best in the world/Korea at X" stars, for example Park Ji-sung (family name Park), the Soccer (that's Football to the rest of the world) star who is holding his own impressively on Manchester United, but who's so ugly, and un-charismatic in front of the camera, that they can only make commercials like this: keep the camera at a distance, and show him kicking stuff, because that's the only time he looks impressive. (Notice at the end of the ad, when the close-up is as short as they can make it and still have him be recongnizable, as if the camera's afraid to get close to his face)
(Mind you, as a soccer player who DOESN'T have a face for advertising, he's certainly not alone.)
But Yu-na Kim is cute, holds the camera, and is carrying herself quite well for a young star under the microscope that is Korean celebrity-worship. She even sings pretty well.
Drink your milk.
For Nike Women
However, the thing she does best is skate. She traveled to Toronto a few years ago, and she and her mother camped out on Brian Orser's front door until he agreed to train her, they got themselves a really good choreographer, and little Yu-na's natural athleticism blossomed. The other best skater in the world is a Japanese lady named Mao Asada, who is the same age as Yu-na, and they've been vying with each other for world number one ranking, and despite the bitter, WWE-type rivalry some nationalist Korean netizens would probably love them to have, all reports say they're friends.
Yu-na Kim has won other world championships and major international competitions before - read more on her wikipedia page; I'm too lazy to copy it out here -- and this is a short program she's used before in competition, but this time, she comes in at full health, in Canada (she really likes Canada, girlfriendoseyo told me), in Vancouver -- on the rink where the Olympic skates will be next winter == and her first triple is absolutely perfect; from there, she gets more confidence, and lands her other two jumps perfectly as well, and ultimately sets a world record for the highest score ever in a women's short program (72.24). Her technical score is off the charts, because she got bonus points for each perfect jump, Girlfriendoseyo explained to me. Watch the video again, and let that sink in, and pay special attention to the look on her face at 3.29 in the video, just as she completes her skate: it's the pure bliss of someone who knows she just did something really, really special.
There it is.
And in a nice change, even the Korean announcers' heads do not explode when her world record is announced (unlike certain races during last year's Summer games, when you might have thought the Korean announcers were on speed. Follow this link, skip to 5.00 in, and watch the excitement build until the end of the race, or skip to 7.00 to just hear the announcers orgasm over their guy winning... yah At least some people realize it sounds a bit silly).
Way to go, Yuna! I haven't watched figure skating regularly since my sisters used to make me sit through it when I was a kid, back in the days when Elvis Stojko was turning the men's skating world on its ear by doing routines with songs that had beats, instead of all snoozers and string quartets, but even a rube like myself knows when something amazing just happened. The other reason I'm happy about Yuna's success is because she's an awesome role-model for all the young Korean girls who don't want to be popstars.
(Speaking of popstars, listen for the WonderGirls' "Nobody" playing in the background as the arena waits for her scores.)