You may know Sunghoon as a member of I-LAND‘s ENHYPEN, but before he sang and danced for fans of stage, he had another talent: figure skating. But while racking up skating medals like Sunghoon did can’t be easy, is it harder than being an K-Pop idol? Sunghoon weighed in on his double life in a new interview with Teen Vogue.
Sunghoon—better known as Park Sunghoon in the figure skating world—began training in the sport when he was a young boy. With an immense level of talent, he made his competitive debut at the age of just eight years old.
Sunghoon’s first trophy came at the 2013 South Korean Figure Skating Championships, where he took home the silver price in the Novice category. And from then on, he only continued to rise.
At the age of 14, he competed in the 2015 Asian Open Trophy, where he won his first gold prize for 1st place in his age group. Later that year, the young figure skating star jetted off to Italy for the 2015 Lombardia Trophy and won yet another gold medal.
Over the years, Sunghoon participated in figure skating contests across the world, graduating to the senior category when he was 15 years old. Coached by world champion skaters like Chi Hyun Jung, Sunghoon was likely on the pathway to Olympic stardom—until he made the decision to become an idol.
Winning figure skating medals is no easy feat. In Sunghoon’s case, it required years upon years of training.
Competitive skaters need a combination of flexibility, power, balance, and endurance, which is why many add weight training and aerobic exercise to their practice schedules. The typical aspiring Olympian will often train for several hours a day, five to six days a week.
On top of that, professional figure skaters must put themselves in front of judges over and over again, setting themselves up for the grueling possibility of failure at every competition. With all that in mind, you might think that becoming a K-Pop trainee would be easy in comparison.
But in a new interview with Teen Vogue, Sunghoon revealed the opposite. He said that while competitive figure skating “is by no means easy“, personally he thinks the life of a trainee is harder.
That’s because figure skating only requires training in one set of skills—athletic skills. To be an idol, on the other hand, Sunghoon says “you need to be versatile in everything“. While dancing may have come easily to a skater like Sunghoon, he also needed to show off singing and rapping skills as part of his stint on I-LAND.
However, Sunghoon did say there are some similarities between his figure skating life and his idol life. For one, both require a lot of practice to achieve perfection. And Sunghoon definitely practiced hard for I-LAND, improving his performance skills enough to receive 1,088,413 votes in the finale.
And, on top of that, both appeal to Sunghoon’s love for artistic expression—something fans can’t wait to see more of when ENHYPEN debuts.
I can express myself and my emotions with music through singing and dancing, [just as I did in skating].