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Curling coach says mixed pairs have a shot at a medal

Korea’s Canadian curling coach said Wednesday that his mixed doubles team has enough potential to win a medal at the upcoming PyeongChang Winter Olympics.

“I think there is a big potential for an Olympic medal for sure,” Jim Cotter said after a practice session at the Gangneung Curling Center. “[If they] do all of those things, good things will happen in curling. I think they could [get] a medal.”

Cotter, a veteran curler, joined the Korean national team on Tuesday as a part-time coach during the Winter Olympics, due to kick off Friday. The country’s mixed doubles team of Jang Hye-ji, 21, and Lee Ki-jeong, 23, has not been regarded as a big medal contender, but is a dark horse at PyeongChang, where the mixed doubles event will make its Olympic debut.

He said they are young but have “sound” technique in throwing stones. Among the eight teams competing in the mixed doubles discipline in Olympics, Jang and Lee are the youngest curlers.

“I saw them throw out and I was very impressed with their skills,” he said. “They’re a young team but technically sound. Very good.”

The 43-year old coach said he will help the youngsters stay calm and take things slow, noting that a faster heart rate disturbs their focus and keeps them from sliding the stone in the right way.

The Canadian coach said he will tip them off about the gold medal favorite in the event: Canada.

“I’m here to coach and I do my best. I’ll provide everything, all my knowledge that I know,” he said.


Men’s short-track team tries to keep atmosphere friendly

Korea’s male short-track speed skater Kim Do-kyoum, who will compete in the men’s 5000-meter relay at the PyeongChang Winter Olympics, said Wednesday his teammates are focusing on building a friendly atmosphere to achieve desirable results at the competition.

“Keeping in tune with teammates and building a good atmosphere are important for teamwork,” Kim told reporters after his training at Gangneung Ice Arena.

“We make jokes to each other without any barriers. We try to keep the atmosphere upbeat as we continue training,” he added.

Kim said he feels that the competition is just around the corner now that he is training at the venue in Gangneung, 230 kilometers (142 miles) east of Seoul.

The skater added that he is especially focusing on maintaining his physical condition, as the final for the 5,000-meter relay race is scheduled for Feb. 22, only a few days ahead of the closing ceremony on Feb. 25.

“I try to manage the amount of training because it is important to maintain my physical strength,” Kim admitted.

Despite Korea being one of most competitive countries in the sport of short-track speed skating, the men’s team failed to win any medals at the 2014 Sochi Games. Kim said he will not be distracted by the slump, saying his seniors still set great records in the past.

“We are seeking to try our best in our respective positions,” Kim said. “We are putting the top priority on our duties.”

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