Lee Sang-hwa, in the words of others

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Lee Sang-hwa, in the words of others

Kim Han-gi

Principal, Eunseok Elementary School

“If she hadn’t become a skater, she could have gotten into Seoul National University. She was a smart girl. Since she didn’t have a piano back then, she practiced hard to win an award in the piano contest. She knew her father would buy her a piano if she won the grand prize. Many athletes who aim for the national team are often absent from class, but Sang-hwa even won an attendance award in the ninth grade - which shows how diligent and hard-working she was.”

Jeon Pung-seong

Lee’s skating coach (2002-5)

“When she once came in second in an international friendly match, she did not appear in the award ceremony. When I found her, she was crying in the locker room, saying she couldn’t bear not achieving the goal that she had set. It wasn’t because she didn’t finish as the first one. I guess that ambition made her today’s gold medalist. Sang-hwa is a natural-born skater. Her thighs are the result of strenuous weight training and her agile body enhances her overall quickness.”

Choi Tae-hyung

Editor, Esquire Magazine, which had a photo shoot with Lee before the Olympics

“Lee looked awkward when she first put on the feminine dress, but as time passed she concentrated on the shoot and got into it.”

Kang Jin-sung

Security guard at Taereung National Training Center

He praised Lee for her courtesy and friendliness. “After winning the gold medal in the last Olympics, I asked her for an autograph and she gave me a lovely one with the sign of a heart.”

Lee Kyou-hyuk

Speed skater who has known Lee for 11 years

“Her physical condition is even better than in the Vancouver Games. I guess Sang-hwa can skate faster than me.”

Kim Gwan-gyu

2010 Vancouver Olympics Coach

“She was never satisfied with her performance. She always tried to discover her good points and bad points then tried to improve them.”

Kevin Crockett

National speed skating team coach

“Since Korea has not been good in medal races, she must have felt a huge amount of pressure. But she overcame that very well.”
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