The Korean Olympic team is leaving for London for the world's largest sporting festival that kicks off next week. The 133 athletes board Korean Air and Asiana Airlines flights from Incheon International Airport on Friday afternoon.
Most of them will go straight to the Olympic Village, but athletes in some sports including taekwondo, boxing, fencing, and hockey will settle at a training base at Brunel University. The team will officially move to the Olympic Village on July 25, two days before the official start of the games.
The 1948 Olympics in London was an opportunity for the country to carry its own flag for the first time since the Japanese occupation ended. The team had 70 members, including 51 athletes in seven sports. Korea won two bronze medals -- Han Soo-ann in boxing and Kim Sung-jip in weightlifting -- and finished 32nd out of 59 countries. Sixty-four years later, the country's sporting stature has grown incomparably.
This year's Korean team has 245 athletes competing in 22 disciplines, and aims to finish in the top 10 by winning at least 10 gold medals, just as it did four years ago in Beijing. If it succeeds, it will be Korea's third consecutive top 10 finish.
Korean Olympic Committee president Park Yong-sung recently told reporters, "Winning 10 gold medals is a realistic goal considering the performance and form of our athletes in recent international competitions. All athletes did their best in preparation, so we can only wait for the results."