[EDITORIALS]Learn from our athletesKorea’s national baseball team playing in the inaugural World Baseball Classic scored its first upset in the first round, when Lee Seung-yeop’s go-ahead two-run home run helped it beat Japan 3-2. Then in the second round play, Koreans shocked the United States, whose lineup featured major leaguers only, with a score of 7-3. Their performances have generated a great amount of excitement among Koreans.
It is not just baseball. Through its nine road games in places like the Middle East, Hong Kong and the United States to open this year, Korea’s national soccer squad showed that in the upcoming World Cup in Germany, it could duplicate its final-four showing from the previous World Cup in Korea. During the Olympic Winter Games in Turin, Italy, Korea’s short track speed skaters were unrivaled in their sheer dominance, bringing home six of the eight gold medals available. Ahn Hyun-soo and Jin Sun-yu each won three gold medals apiece.
Over at the links, Korea’s Kim Joo-mi and Lee Mee-na opened the Ladies Professional Golf Association Tour’s new season with two consecutive victories. On the ice, the 15-year-old figure skater Kim Yu-na made history by capturing the World Junior Figure Skating Championship, Korea’s first-ever title in a major international figure skating competition. Speed skater Kim Yoo-rim finished No. 1 overall at the World Junior Speed Skating Championship.
There are three reasons for Korea’s athletic prowess: an environment conducive to healthy competition, successful globalization and financial support by major corporations.
As the national baseball manager Kim In-sik said, “they did it all on their own.” Whether it was the players’ desire to become the starters, or to receive exemption from mandatory military service, our baseball players have beat out fierce competition to get to where they are.
Also, the presence of Korean ball players in the major leagues has helped boost the team’s profile and power. Of course, corporations chipped in profusely with their financial aid.
During the Asian financial crisis of the late 1990s, each of LPGA golfer Pak Se-ri’s victories gave us the strength to get up again. Today, when our athletes bring home news of triumphs, we feel proud of them and realize Korea’s place on the global sporting scene has grown so much over time.
Unfortunately, the state of our politics and politicians remains the same. It is time for them to improve.