Human victoriesTeam Korea gave amazingly to the Korean people over the Lunar New Year holidays. Yun Sung-bin grabbed Korea’s first gold medal in skeleton and Choi Min-jeong took another gold in women’s 1,500-meter short track despite disqualification from the 500-meter final race for interfering with other skaters. Korea’s curling team also stunned the world with its marvelous performance.
Yun won an overwhelming victory in men’s skeleton Friday — a whopping 1.63 seconds faster than the silver medalist. It is the first Olympic gold medal for Korean sliding sports, and no Asian player has ever taken a gold in sliding races, including bobsledding and luge.
Yun’s triumph was particularly noteworthy because it came only 67 months after he started in the sport. Despite his unrivaled physical strength and speed, he had to undergo harsh training such as riding the course eight times a day compared to an average of two to three times a day for other players. He ate eight meals a day to build the muscle needed for the race.
The composure and calm Yun demonstrated in the race were also impressive. Even after winning the gold, he smiled and knelt to his supporters instead of showing tears of pride. Asked if he felt pressure, he simply said that he did not feel any pressure for victory though his goal was winning gold. That reflects the attitudes of our young generation, who enjoy a challenge as much as a victory.
In the women’s 1,500-meter short track final on Sunday, Choi Min-jeong raced ahead of her competitors from fourth place with three rounds left. She earned the ability to surpass other players by choosing the outer course, defying centrifugal force. Thanks to her tough training, she was able to turn corners in a stable way.
Our women’s curling team — all graduating from the same middle and high school in Uiseong County, North Gyeongsang — defeated teams from Canada and Switzerland, the world’s No. 1 and 2 teams, before defeating the U.K., the birthplace of curling. Their unrivaled cohesiveness helped them open a new chapter in Korean sports.
The PyeongChang Winter Olympics is being swept up by a genuine spirit of amateur victory the blood, sweat and tears of our athletes, and a willingness to enjoy the sports irrespective of the results. We hope all athletes do their best until the Olympic flame is extinguished on Feb. 25.
JoongAng Ilbo, Feb. 19, Page 30