When an athlete’s handsomeness becomes a point of confusion for reporters, you know he’s not just any other athlete. The line between sports and entertainment has been blurred once again, and this time, it’s because of the dazzling visuals of South Korean figure skater Cha Jun Hwan.
In a gif that recently went viral on the beloved community site, TheQoo, a reporter is seen photographing the gifted athlete. What caught netizens’ attention was the reporter asking Cha to shout out a fighting chant in the name of his group, clearly mistaking him for an idol.
Cha’s response, a rather puzzled “Yes..??“, was so endearing and caused a lot of amusement among netizens.
But who is Cha Jun Hwan? And how did he come to be mistaken for an idol?
Beyond his model-like visuals, Cha’s credentials in the world of figure skating are nothing short of extraordinary. In the recent 2023 Worlds, he clinched the silver medal. The previous year, he was crowned the champion at the Four Continents. If we trace his journey back a bit further, we find that he’s the 2018–2019 Grand Prix Final bronze medalist, a five-time Grand Prix medalist, a four-time ISU Challenger Series medalist, and a seven-time consecutive South Korean national champion from 2017 to 2023.
Cha has truly redefined the limits for South Korean male figure skaters. He’s the pioneering figure – the first South Korean man to win and medal at the Four Continents Championships. Similarly, he’s the first to grab medals at the World Championships, Grand Prix Final, Junior Grand Prix Final, and any senior Grand Prix event.
But his connection to the entertainment world goes beyond his envious good looks. Before carving his niche in figure skating, Cha worked as a child actor, model, and ballet dancer. It’s this unique blend of artistic and athletic prowess that gives him an aura of a superstar.
After transitioning to figure skating, Cha didn’t entirely leave the limelight of the entertainment world. He has been an influential figure in public campaigns and has endorsed a plethora of commercial products, from clothing to cosmetics. His modeling credentials boast some big names like Vogue Korea, Elle Korea, Men’s Health Korea, W Korea, and Arena Homme Korea.
Cha’s charm isn’t confined to still pictures alone. He’s made dynamic appearances on TV shows, leaving a memorable mark on the popular variety show King of Mask Singer in June 2020. Moreover, the music festival SBS Gayo Daejeon witnessed his multifaceted talents in December 2022. There, Cha performed a cover dance and also graced the event as a special guest MC.
Given his trailblazing achievements and captivating persona, it’s no surprise that a reporter might mistake Cha Jun Hwan for an idol. But whether on the icy rinks of figure skating championships or the glossy pages of high-fashion magazines, one thing is clear: Cha Jun Hwan is a star in his own right.