September 07, 2021 11:20
Volleyball star Kim Yeon-koung gave her all during her final international competition at the Summer Olympics in Tokyo, she said at an online press conference on Monday.
She shared the sweat and tears she put into the sport with the media for the first time since returning from Japan after leading the national women's volleyball team to the quarterfinals by defeating world powerhouses like the Dominican Republic, Japan and Turkey.
Her stellar performance and leadership of the women's volleyball team inspired Koreans who were watching the games on TV. "I didn't want to have any regrets when the Olympics ended and I played each game as if it were my last," she said.
Kim announced her retirement from the national team after the Olympics ended. She has played for it for as long as 16 years since 2005, when she was a senior in high school.
"I always thought hard about when I should retire [from the national team] and decided the best time was after the Olympics," Kim said. "It means I won't be able to play in the Asian Games next year, but I'm not young anymore. I've suffered many injuries and found it too tiring to train and play all year long," Kim said.
Kim said she has no intention of retiring from professional volleyball, however, and will head to China next month. Earlier this year she signed a contract with Shanghai Bright Ubest after a brief return to the Korean league.
"I will try to keep myself in top form so that I can stay on top of my game," she said. "The volleyball season in China lasts only two months, so I could head to Europe or the U.S. during the winter transfer window." She added that Jordan Larson, the U.S. volleyball player who was the MVP at the Tokyo Olympics, asked Kim if she was interested in playing in the U.S.
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