Award-winning attitudes in Rio

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Award-winning attitudes in Rio

Park In-bee clinched the ninth gold medal for Team Korea at the 2016 Summer Olympics as she won a women’s golf event on Sunday. In the Rio Olympic Games, which were the first time golf was played as a medal event in 116 years, Park proved once again that Korean woman golfers are top notch. She wrote a new chapter in world golf history. By winning the British Open last year, Park became the first Asian golfer who has completed a Career Grand Slam — a title given to a pro golfer who wins four different major tournaments. With the gold medal in Rio, Park became the very first golfer, among both men and women golfers in the world, who achieved a Golden Career Grand Slam — a newly coined title given to a pro golfer who wins gold medal in the Olympic event in addition to four different major tournaments.

Before the Olympic Games began, no one actually expected Park to achieve this feat. Park had her worst season this year owing to an injury of her left thumb. She was often cut off not only in international tournaments but also domestic tournaments. As she delayed her decision on whether to participate in the Olympic events, Park was plagued by rumors that she did not want to go to Rio because she was afraid of the Zika virus. When she decided to go, she faced carping that maybe she should give a chance to another golfer.

Despite those rumors and criticism, Park did her best and produced the best outcome.

“I played with humble attitude and the Olympic spirit of challenging one’s own limits. I wanted to do my best, regardless of the outcome,” said Park after the game. “I am happy to confirm I can still play good golf even though I suffered from poor performances for some time,” Park added. Her performance and her attitude deserve gold medals.

There are several Korean athletes who deserve this compliment. Park Sang-young won the gold medal in men’s individual epee fencing by overcoming an apparently impossible score gap with his opponent. Jin Jong-oh got the gold medal in 50-meter pistol, recovering from frustration when he failed in his main event. Rhythmic gymnast Son Yeon-jae regrettably landed in the fourth rank. The women’s volleyball team failed in the quarterfinal match. But they did their best to overcome their limits. The value of their sweat and tears will not change because they didn’t win a medal.

JoongAng Ilbo, Aug. 22, Page 26

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