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11/14/2016 Special > Special


Volleyball Superstar Kim Yeon-koung

From the domestic league to the world’s best


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An accurate spike is a crucial attacking strategy in a volleyball game where higher the ball-contact point to the hand is, the better it is for players to score an easy point. Likewise, maintaining a positive spirit during the game is just as essential when one single point can determine the outcome. Possessing these two necessities as an outstanding volleyball player, Kim Yeon-koung stands out amongst international women athletes as one of the best volleyball players in the world. After dominant years in the domestic league, Kim has made Korea proud by reaching the international level of professional women’s volleyball.

▲ Kim plays as an outside hitter
(Photo courtesy of OSEN)
It is nearly impossible to list all the achievements and honors that Kim has achieved in her volleyball career so far. Yet, there is one that describes her the best – the highest paid volleyball player in the world, including both male and female. When she entered Europe for the first time, she was signed a contract for 1.2 million euros. Also, wherever she went, from Korea, Japan, to Turkey, the team that she played for always won the league titles, giving her the nickname of 'Kimvincible'. She has won the most valuable player awards in the three nations as well as in international tournaments like the London Olympics in 2012.

Kim plays as an outside hitter, the main attacker on the court. Her height of 192 centimeters stands out as the most powerful weapon in leading the attacking plays. The overwhelming ball-spiking point and blocking point give her an absolute advantage in stacking up points for her personal statistics. She usually scores about half of the points that the entire team makes in a single game. Also, as a high-spirited player, Kim leads the teams, both professional league and national teams in acquiring positive environment on and off the court.

Korea, Japan, and Turkey

Kim began playing volleyball after being influenced by her older sister, a volleyball player then. However, she was only 170 centimeters when she graduated from middle school, making it difficult for Kim to play regularly in her team. Instead of leading the attacks on the team, she had to take the position as a libero, a player that focuses mainly in receiving and defending. This unexpected hardship pushed Kim to practice even harder, starting her day at five o’clock in the morning and training until eleven o’clock at night. Then, miraculously, she grew about 20 centimeters more in high school and ended up changing her position to an attacker. The persistence in training was finally awarded and Kim was selected to represent Korea in the national team.

At about the same time, Kim was drafted as the first pick by the Heungkuk Life Pink Spiders in the 2005 Korean V-League Draft. Before Kim signed with Heungkuk Life, the team was lowest ranked in the league; however, as soon as Kim played that year, the team won the V-League title and she won the most valuable player award as a rookie. A few years later, Kim moved to Japan to start a new challenge with JT Marvelous in the V-Premier League. After leading the Japanese team to its league titles, Kim gained international attention as many coaches described her as the 'player of the century'. Then, she went further to become the best player in the world by joining the Turkish team, Fenerbahçe in 2011. As the highest paid player in the world, she has proven the worth by winning European tournaments and Turkish league titles with the team. Today, Kim continues to play for Fenerbahçe, leading the team for more success in the future.

Playing for the National Team

Kim has starred in Korean television shows to promote women’s volleyball in Korea. As the best player in Korea, she has shown candid affection and strong leadership for the national team. Even though Kim had a chance to be naturalized in Turkey after undesired conflict regarding the contract with the Heungkuk Life, she decided to endure the suffering to stay and play for Korea in the Olympics and other international tournaments. The results were incredible. The Korean team won gold medal in the 2014 Incheon Asian Games and silver medal in the 2012 London Olympics. These honors were not achieved solely by Kim but it is undeniable to say that she has brought the team together as one. 
▲ Being only 28 years old, Kim has bright prospects for the future.
(Photo courtesy of MoneyToday)

Park Min-young
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