Lee Chae-won joins exclusive club with sixth Olympic appearance
Cross country skier Lee Chae-won finished 61st in the women's 7.5km + 7.5km skiathlon at the Beijing Winter Olympics on Saturday, marking her sixth consecutive run on the big stage and becoming only the fifth Korean ever to compete at six Olympics.
At Zhangjiakou National Cross-Country Skiing Centre in Hebei Province, Lee finished second from last with a time of 55:52.6, 11 minutes and 38.9 seconds behind gold medalist Johaug Therese of Norway.
Lee passed the 5.1-kilometer point in 61st place, the 6.3-kilometer mark in 60th, then fell back to 61st at 7.4 kilometers and crossed the line in that position.
Alongside Lee, countrywoman Han Da-som passed the 5.1-kilometer mark in 63rd place and then passed 6.3 kilometers in 63rd place, but failed to complete the race.
Lee’s best Olympic result was at the 2014 Sochi Winter Games, when she finished 33rd in the women’s 30-kilometer freestyle.
Lee is the most seasoned cross country skier in Korea, having already competed in five Olympics, starting with the 2002 Salt Lake Games and running all the way through to Beijing. At the 2018 PyeongChang Games, she finished 57th out of 62 competitors in the women’s 15-kilometer skiathlon and 51st out of 90 in the 10-kilometer freestyle race. She was 36 years old at the time and the oldest athlete on the entire Korean national team.
Lee once again entered the Beijing Games as the oldest member of Team Korea. Lee initially expressed her intention to retire from the national team after the 2018 PyeongChang Games, but changed her mind and earned another Olympic berth.
Twenty-year-old Lee Eui-jin, who earned her berth alongside, Lee Chae-won will compete in the women’s sprint free qualifications on Tuesday with medal events following later that evening.
BY YUN SO-HYANG [email@example.com]