Three Olympic Medalists in Line for Highest Sports Honor

Figure skater Kim Yu-na, speed skater Lee Sang-hwa and short track skater Park Seung-hi, who won medals at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, will be considered for the Cheongryong Medal, the highest accolade in Korea's Order of Sports Merit, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism said Monday.

Lee won her back-to-back Olympic gold in the women's 500-m race, while Kim grabbed the silver and Park won two gold medals and one bronze.

From left, Lee Sang-hwa, Kim Yu-na and Park Seung-hi From left, Lee Sang-hwa, Kim Yu-na and Park Seung-hi

The ministry announced the plan after criticism for new rules for the highest sports honor, which requires an athlete to acquire at least 1,500 merit points to be eligible, up from 1,000 points previously.

That would have left Kim, a global star, two-time Olympic medalist and winner of two world championships, out of the running because she has only 1,424 points.

The ministry decided to apply a special provision that allows awarding extra points for outstanding achievements.

Lee and Park have 2,475 and 3,125 points and qualify easily.

englishnews@chosun.com / Mar. 18, 2014 11:14 KST