Find Out More About Son Yeon-jae, the Retired Rhythmic Gymnast From South Korea
Considered to be athletics mixed with elements of ballet, gymnastics, dance, and apparatus manipulation, rhythmic gymnastics can be considered to be one of the most complex sports out there. Various qualities, such as balance, flexibility, coordination, and strength are required for the gymnasts to survive out in the field match, as well as possessing the discipline and work ethic in order to be the best one.
In South Korea, rhythmic gymnastics is not as popular as the other sports. Nevertheless, the country has been made proud by one of their national athletes, Son Yeon-jae, who has won in a ton of worldwide competitions making the nation recognize her internationally. Starting rhythmic gymnastics at a young age, Son Yeon-jae is considerably popular in South Korea and placed in the mid-tier level behind figure skater Kim Yuna. She is also often invited to television programs due to her cute appearance and her blunt statements, which attract the public’s attention.
In this article, Channel-Korea will provide you with all the information about Son Yeon-jae, starting from her personal profile and fun facts, through her career as a rhythmic gymnast, the list of her advertisements, her relationship with FT Island’s Jong-hoon, her appearance in Infinite Challenge and Running Man, to her scandal and controversies, and her Instagram Feed. So, stay tuned!
Son Yeon-jae’s Full Profile
Birth Name: Son Yeon Jae
Place and Date of Birth: Seoul, South Korea, May 28th, 1994
Age: 26 (Korean age)/25 (International age)
Zodiac Sign: Gemini
Chinese Astrology: Dog
Height: 165 cm
Weight: 52 kg
Education: Yonsei University
World Ranking: 19 (2011), 9 (2012), and 5 (2013 – 2016)
Fun Facts About Son Yeon-jae You Have to Know
- Son Yeon-jae is an only child to her parents.
- Son Yeon-jae is the second cousin of Korean figure skater Yoon Ye-ji.
- Many people think that Son Yeon-jae has an uncanny resemblance to female singer Kriesha Chu.
- Son Yeon-jae’s ideal type is someone who is tall.
- Son Yeon-jae received ballet lessons from MYNAME’s Insoo for two years.
- Son Yeon-jae is friends of Cosmic Girls’ Cheng Xiao. They appeared on MBC’s My Little Television and KBS’ ballet show The Swan Club. She also taught Cheng Xiao the rhythmic gymnastic steps for Cheng Xiao’s participation on MBC’s Idol Star Athletic Championship.
Son Yeon-jae’s Career as a Korean Rhythmic Gymnast
Unexpectedly, Son Yeon-jae began gymnastics only as a method of losing weight. However, she worked on the sport professionally after winning the all-around gold medal at the Angel Cup in Malaysia in 2008. One year later, Son Yeon-jae was chosen as the opening act of Kim Yuna’s Festa on Ice and was the champion at the Slovenian Challenge Tournament, being the first South Korean rhythmic gymnast to have won a gold medal at an International Tournaments level of FIG. In 2010, Son Yeon-jae grabbed her first medal at the Asian Games in Guangzhou, made her senior international debut at the Kalamata World Cup where she managed to reach the 12th rank, placed 11th in the all-around competition of Corbeil-Essones International Rhythmic Gymnastics Tournament, and ranked 32nd at the World Championships. Soon after these competitions, Son Yeon-jae went to Russia for long-term training.
In 2011, Son Yeon-jae competed at the Grand Prix and placed 19th in the individual all-around, while in 2012, she tied for the 18th place with Wong Poh San. She also became the first Korean rhythmic gymnast to have won a medal at the World Cup series and placed 5th overall at the Finals, making her also the first Korean rhythmic gymnast to qualify and reach all-around finals at the Olympics that were held in London.
Son Yeon-jae participated in various matches in 2013, such as Moscow Grand Prix where she won bronze in clubs, Lisboa World Cup where she finished 9th in all-around and won bronze in ribbon, Pesaro World Cup where she won a silver medal, Sofia World Cup where she finished 4th in all-around and shared the bronze medal in hoop with Ukrainian Ganna Rizatdinova, Minsk World Cup where she finished 4th in all-around and took silver medals, Asian Championships in Uzbekistan where she won gold in the all-around, Summer Universiade where she finished 5th in all-around, World Cup in Russia where she finished 4th in all-around, and World Championship in Ukraine where she finished 5th in the all-around behind Deng Senyue.
Similar to the previous year, Son Yeon-jae joined World Cup, World Championship, Moscow Grand Prix, Lisbon World Cup, Minsk World Cup, and Sofia World Cup, as well as joining Stuttgart World Cup for the first time where she finished 7th in all-around and qualified to 3 event finals. The female gymnast returned home for Asian Games in Incheon where she won the gold medal and became the first Korean to win rhythmic gymnastics in the Asian Games. In addition, Son Yeon-jae was named the best athlete of the year with 33.3 percent votes and awarded the MBN Women Sports Award, in 2014, in Seoul.
In 2015, Son Yeon-jae returned to several competitions, such as Lisboa World Cup, Asian Championships, World Cup, Summer Universiade, World Championship, and Sofia World Cup, while withdrew from Moscow Grand Prix due to her poor condition.
In 2016, Son Yeon-jae finally participated again on Moscow Grand Prix, as well as Espoo World Cup, Lisboa World Cup, Pesaro World Cup, Asian Championships, Sofia World Cup, Guadalajara World Cup, and Kazan World Cup. She also competed at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and qualified in the rhythmic gymnastics individual all-around final, placed 4th rank behind bronze medalist Ganna Rizatdinova.
After the Olympic Games, Son Yeon-jae decided to continue her studies at Yonsei University. She officially announced her retirement on February 18th, 2017, at the age of 22. In her interview with the magazine InStyle, Son Yeon-jae opened up about her future plans after retiring as a gymnast, “There are many things I want to do. Now I have a legit reason to look at things from a different perspective. I would like to take on various challenges from this learning process.” Best of luck to Son Yeon-jae!
List of Son Yeon-jae’s CFs
Due to the skyrocketing popularity, she achieved after participating in various competitions, Son Yeon-jae has been contacted by a lot of famous companies to endorse their products. Notably, Son Yeon-jae has been the brand ambassador of an ice cream brand, pizza brand ‘Mr. Pizza Eggta’, beverage brand ‘Sunkist’, and diet drinks ‘Green Diet’.
Son Yeon-jae also promoted ‘Whisper’, a local brand that produces menstrual pads and was the face of the shampoo brand ‘Pantene’ in South Korea.
Last but not least, Son Yeon-jae has endorsed the sportswear brand ‘FILA’, the jewelry brand ‘J. Estina’, and the electronic brand LG WHISEN, for which she starred with swimmer Park Tae-hwan and actor Jo In-sung.
Son Yeon-jae’s Diet Tips
In 2011, Son Yeon-jae revealed her diet method in order to maintain her slim figure. During her appearance on MBC’s Quiz that Changes the World, the athlete said, “I eat vigorously in the morning and at night I only eat vegetables and yogurt. If there was a day where I did not gain weight, I would want to eat as much pizza and ddukboki (stir-fried rice cake) as I could.” In another interview, Son Yeon-jae added that she practices for seven hours a day and pointed out that her fellow gymnasts are blessed with an easier time maintaining their bodies, while she must practice harder to look as good as them.
In her latest variety show The Swan Club, Son Yeon-jae was told by one of the judges to lose more weight. At that time, she performed “Russian Doll” quite well, considering that she is a former athlete who is trying to adapt as a ballerina. Even so, her figure was judged by the male judge who said that she has to lose some weight in order to fit the standard as a ballerina who is generally tall and has long limbs. After being criticized, Son Yeon-jae was determined to lose weight so that she can fulfill the general idea of being a ballerina.