Korea to Send Record Number of Athletes to Sochi Games

Korea will send its largest-ever group of athletes to the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, which will open on Feb. 7 in Russia.

According to the Korean Olympic Committee on Tuesday, a total of 64 athletes will take part in the quadrennial event. The squad comprises 15 speed skaters, 10 short track skaters, three figure skaters, five curlers, two biathletes, 10 bobsledders, two skeleton athletes, four lugers, five alpine skiers and two each for cross-country skiing, ski jumping, freestyle skiing and snowboarding.

Korea will field entrants in six sports, with a notable exception being ice hockey. The country sent its previous high of 48 athletes to Salt Lake City in 2002, and 46 to Vancouver in 2010.

In winning berths at the Sochi Games, the sledding athletes have all put in solid performances, giving new cause for optimism. The nation's bobsledders secured five berths -- two in the four-man events, another two in the two-man events, and one in the two-woman event -- while the lugers will take part in all luge events including the men’s and women's singles and doubles.

Korea is aiming for at least four gold medals to rank inside the top 10 for a third straight Winter Olympics. The team will have its official inaugural meeting at the Taeneung Training Center on Thursday and depart for Sochi on Feb. 1.

Athletes from about 80 countries will compete for 98 gold medals in seven sports such as skiing, skating and bobsleigh at the 22nd Winter Olympics.

englishnews@chosun.com / Jan. 22, 2014 10:48 KST