Athletes Return Home from Sochi

The Korean delegation of 47 athletes and 37 officials returned from the 17-day Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics on Tuesday to a storm of applause from family members, friends and fans at Incheon International Airport.

Led by speed skater Lee Kyou-hyuk holding the Korean flag aloft, the athletes were greeted by flashing cameras and much applause at the airport. Figure skating star Kim Yu-na was among them. As soon as she showed up at the airport, fans chanted her name and tussled to get up close to her while security guards kept them in check.

Kim was bombarded with questions at a press conference at the airport. Asked for her thoughts on whether the judges unfairly awarded her second place in the women's singles, she remained calm and refused to be drawn into the controversy.

"I was satisfied when it was over as I was able to wrap up my last competition flawlessly," said Kim, who is now retiring from the sport.

Athletes pose at Incheon International Airport on return from the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics on Tuesday. From left, Kim A-lang, Cho Ha-ri, Park Seung-hi, Lee Sang-hwa and Kim Yu-na Athletes pose at Incheon International Airport on return from the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics on Tuesday. From left, Kim A-lang, Cho Ha-ri, Park Seung-hi, Lee Sang-hwa and Kim Yu-na

Meanwhile, the women's short track team promised another solid result at the next Winter Games after netting five medals, including two gold medals, while the men’s short track team returned from Russia with no medals.

"I had a good experience in Sochi. Now I'll focus on getting more experience so I can perform even better four years later [when Korea hosts the Games in Pyeongchang]," said Shim Suk-hee, who impressed Korean fans when she rallied with just half a lap remaining to win the women's 3,000-m short track relay.

Korea finished 13th overall in Sochi. It failed to realize its goal of finishing in the top 10 for the third time running with at least four gold medals

englishnews@chosun.com / Feb. 26, 2014 10:31 KST