Lee Sang-hwa

Speed skater Lee Sang-hwa was chosen by Korean soldiers as the country's best prospect for a medal at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang.

In a survey of 373 soldiers by the Defense Ministry, 117, or 31.4 percent, chose Lee. Skeleton racer Yun Sung-bin came second with 27.3 percent, followed by short-track speed skaters Shim Suk-hee and Choi Min-jung, the men's ice hockey team and the women's curling team.

A total of 27 countries secured places in the speed skating event at the upcoming Olympics -- the largest number ever, the International Skating Union said Monday. The previous record was 25, set at the 1998 Nagano Olympics in Japan.

Canada and the Netherlands will send the largest number of speed skaters, with 10 men and 10 women each. From Korea, 15 speed skaters (eight men and seven women) will participate. Two athletes from Colombia and one from Taiwan will become their countries' first Olympic speed skaters. 

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