Figure skater Laura Lepistö regrets the distress her trip to North Korea may have caused
Figure figure skater Laura Lepistö apologises for the distress that her skating trip to North Korea may have caused.
Last week Lepistö took part in an international figure skating festival, the 21st annual Paektusan Festival, in the North Korean capital of Pyongyang.
“I feel sorry for the confusion and distress that my trip has caused”, Lepistö says in a Finnish Figure Skating Association release.
Lepistö says that she took part in the North Korean festival on invitation by the Champions On Ice organisation, which organises figure skating events all over the world.
Permission for the trip was sought from the Ministry of Education and Culture, which saw no obstacles to her journey.
Lepistö emphasises that her attendance at the festival was not politically motivated and that she does not support the North Korean dictatorship in any way.
Based on the news reported by North Korea’s official news agency, the Korean Central News Agency, or KCNA, however, it is evident that the figure skating event was used unabashedly to boost the personality cult of the late dictator Kim Jong-il.
”I set out on the journey sincerely hoping to bring joy to that nation, and also, after nearly a year and a half, to seek experiences of what it is like to perform once again in front of a crowd. Only those two things were on my mind. To my regret I have noticed that a completely different kind of interpretation and image has been attached to my trip from what I had in mind”, Lepistö states in the release.
Lepistö hopes that the whole affair could be brought to a conclusion quickly.
Previously in HS International Edition:
Finnish ex-European Champion takes part in North Korean figure skating event (20.2.2012)
Laura Lepistö (Wikipedia)