Korea's short track skaters are ready to go for gold as the 10-member team arrived in Sochi, Russia early Thursday morning. They spent the previous two weeks training in Font-Romeu, France, which sits 1,800 m above sea level, and are resolved to restore their standing as the world's strongest team at this fast-paced winter sport.
Shim Suk-hee, who racked up 10 wins at World Cup events last season, is aiming to reap several gold medals. "It will be a good chance to learn from more experienced skaters," she said. "But I'd like to do well to win my signature event, the 1,500 m."
Park Seung-hi, who won two bronze medals in the women's 1,000 m and 1,500 m in Vancouver four years ago, said, "If I adapt to the ice conditions here, I think I can expect good results."
Sochi is an opportunity for Korean short track skaters to regain their honor. The women's team failed to win any gold medals in Vancouver as they were later disqualified from the 3,000-m relay for impeding the Chinese despite finishing first.
The men's team is regarded as the weakest ever fielded by Korea at a Winter Games as it is lacking in any proven or potential champions. Viktor Ahn, who won three gold medals at Turin 2006 for Korea, is now the leading light of the Russian team as he became a naturalized citizen in 2011.
The opening ceremony of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics will start at 8:14 p.m. on Friday at the Fisht Olympic Stadium. Greece will lead the way, in accordance with tradition, and the 87 other countries will follow.
Korea will be the 60th delegation to enter the stadium, just behind Portugal. For this year's Games, the countries will enter according to their alphabetic listing in Cyrillic.