Yun, Jung off to solid start in men's skeleton
Korea's Yun "Ironman" Sung-bin and Jung Seung-gi sit in the middle of the table after the first two men's skeleton runs on Thursday, with both still within striking distance of the podium.
Jung, who enters the Olympics as the highest-ranked Korean, finished the first two runs in 10th place with a combined time of 2:02.22. Jung had a slower first run, at 1:01.18, to take 11th place, rising up to 10th after recording a 1:01.04 on his second run. After both heats, Jung sits 1.89 seconds behind Christopher Grotheer of Germany, who set a new track record at 1 minute flat on his first run.
Jung briefly set a new start record in the first run, at 4.67 seconds, but it has since been surpassed by Yin Zheng of China's 4.60.
Yun, who is the reigning Olympic gold medalist, is currently in 12th place with a combined time of 2:02.43, 2.10 seconds behind Grotheer. Yun also improved on his second run, dropping from 1:01.26 to 1:01.17.
Yun made history when he won gold at the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics, becoming the first athlete outside of Europe and North America to win a gold medal in any sliding sport and the first Korean athlete to ever win gold outside of ice skating.
That 2018 win might have come out of nowhere to casual fans, but Yun had actually been carving his spot into skeleton history for years: At this point in his career he reached the podium at two world championships and 37 world cups, winning 10 word cup gold medals and taking the No. 2 spot in 2016, 2017 and 2019 and the No. 1 spot in 2018.
The arrival of younger competitors like Jung proves that Yun isn't an anomaly and Korean athletes can offer serious competition in sliding sports.
BY JIM BULLEY [firstname.lastname@example.org]