As the winter season is in the air, Pyeongchang Winter Olympics is drawing closer. Good news have been pouring in such as our very own Julian Yee will be joining the Winter Olympics! How cool is that? And have you heard of the Dream Program? No? Well fret not, as we will tell you all about it.
The Dream Program
Launched in 2004, the program was launched as part of its bid for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games. It is initiated to introduce winter sports to young people who otherwise would not have the opportunity to experience neither winter weather, nor winter sports. Since it was launched, 1574 youths (105 with disabilities) from 75 countries have participated. The program is usually organized for 10 days between January and February.
The Dream Program provide youths aged between 11-15, from countries with limited access to winter or winter sports the opportunity to train in ice sports. It helped foster closer ties among nations and enriched participants through cultural exchange.
Under the program, there will be an increase in opportunities for youth especially those with disabilities. Applications are distributed and received by Korean Embassy through consultation with the National Olympic Committee (NOC) of the country concerned. Each NOC will recommend promising players between 11-15 years old. After the reviewing process, participants will finally be confirmed by Gangwon Province.
The goal of the program is to, among others, exchange theory and practical training and guidance method about snow sports. Through the training, participated coach can help promising players and nurture them through practical training methods. By this, players will have a better understanding about winter sports and improve their skills.
Dreams come true for Julian Yee Zhi-Jie
Talking about dreams, dream do come true, at least for Malaysian figure skater, Julian Yee Zhi-Jie. Yee began learning to skate at the age of 4, and became the youngest skater to win the Junior Men’s category in 2011, and once again in 2014 when he became the first Malaysian to reach the free skate at a Four Continents Championship.
In August 2017, Yee won gold at the 2017 Southeast Asian Games. During the qualifying event, the Nebelhorn Trophy, Yee garnered a score of 71.93 points in his short program. In his free skate routine, where Yee placed third, gave him the points he needed to place in the top seven and qualified for the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.
*accredited to Julian Yee Instagram Account @julianyeeee
Yee stated, “I was selected by my National Ice Skating Association (Ice Skating Association Of Malaysia) to participate in the 2009 Korean Dream Program in Pyeongchang. I was very inspired with the fact that Pyeongchang may be an Olympic Venue in the future and that I had the opportunity to learn more about figure skating at the Korean Dream Program.
With this Dream Program, it had also made me realise that the Winter Olympics is a very important and prestigious event. Making me want to be there some day.
8 years later, it is truly and honour and an achievement to be able to qualify and participate at the 2018 Winter Olympics Pyeongchang, the very same venue as the Korean Dream Program.”