Korea Bets on Core Strengths in Winter Olympics

  • By Chang Min-seok

    December 21, 2017 10:31

    The 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang are only 50 days away, and Korea has high hopes of achieving its best result ever.

    The host country aims to finish fourth by winning eight gold, four silver, and eight bronze medals. Its best performance at a Winter Olympics to date was in Vancouver in 2010, finishing fifth with six gold, six silver and two bronze medals. Korea finished 13th overall in the 2014 Olympics in Sochi with three gold, three silver and two bronze medals.

    Korea's strongest discipline is short track speed skating, which accounts for 42 of its 53 cumulative winter Olympic medals.

    Choi Min-jeong on the women's team is a leading hopeful with a high chance of winning multiple medals. What sets her apart from other Korean short trackers is that she ranks with the world's top rivals in the 500-m sprint as well as in mid- and long-distance races. Shim Suk-hee, who won one gold, one silver and one bronze at Sochi, will likely compete with Choi for most medals.

    The men's short-track team, which went medalless at Sochi, is desperately waiting for a chance to redeem themselves at home. 

    In speed skating, Korea has high hopes for Lee Seung-hoon, who won a gold in the men's 10,000 m and silver in the 5,000 m at Vancouver and a silver in team pursuit at Sochi. He now aims to win gold in mass start, which makes its Olympic debut at Pyeongchang. Kim Bo-reum is considered to be a medal contender in women's mass start.

    Lee Sang-hwa, two-time Olympic champion in women's 500-m speed skating, will have a tough time competing with Nao Kodaira of Japan, who has been absolutely dominating the discipline in recent seasons.

    Outside the skating arena, Yun Sung-bin is currently world No. 1 in men's skeleton. Alpine snowboarder Lee Sang-ho is looking for Korea's first ever medal on snow in parallel giant slalom, and the women's curling team and two-man bobsleigh team also have a chance at an Olympic medal. 

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