Reigning Olympic skeleton champion not considering self as medal contender in Beijing

유지호 / 2022-01-26 14:07:24
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Olympics-skeleton slider
▲ This Oct. 19, 2021, file photo provided by the Korea Bobsleigh & Skeleton Federation shows South Korean skeleton slider Yun Sung-bin. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

▲ This photo provided by the Korea Bobsleigh & Skeleton Federation on Jan. 26, 2022, shows South Korean skeleton slider Yun Sung-bin. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

▲ In this Reuters file photo from Jan. 14, 2022, Yun Sung-bin of South Korea competes in the men's skeleton race during the International Bobsleigh & Skeleton Federation World Cup in St. Moritz, Switzerland. (Yonhap)

Olympics-skeleton slider

Reigning Olympic skeleton champion not considering self as medal contender in Beijing

By Yoo Jee-ho

SEOUL, Jan. 26 (Yonhap) -- When the South Korean skeleton slider Yun Sung-bin looks at himself in the mirror, he doesn't see a potential medalist in Beijing next month.

Yun, the 2018 Olympic champion, gave a brutally honest self-assessment in a testy online media conference Wednesday, held with the opening ceremony of the Beijing Winter Olympics just nine days away.

"Objectively speaking, I am not good enough to win a medal (in Beijing) the way I've been performing this season," Yun said. "Realistically, I think there is a low likelihood that I will grab a medal there."

Yun became the first South Korean slider to win an Olympic gold four years ago at PyeongChang, taking full advantage of the home track. Yun had been building up to that moment with a handful of gold medals and a couple of runner-up finishes during the International Bobsleigh & Skeleton Federation (IBSF) World Cup season.

In this past World Cup season, though, Yun failed to win a medal, finishing only as high as sixth twice and ranking 26th once. Yun had reached the podium at least once in every World Cup season since his debut in the 2014-15 campaign.

Though Yun may have been a bit too harsh on himself Wednesday, no one else knows his current state better than Yun himself.

"We have about two weeks to go before our first race (on Feb. 10), and it's virtually impossible to improve so dramatically in that time span," Yun said in response to a question on where he needs to get better to move back into medal contention. "My goal is to maintain my current form for the Olympics. On average, I've been around the top 10 (in World Cup races)."

In the leadup to the PyeongChang Winter Games, Yun was hyped up as the host nation's first medal hope in a sport where South Korea had zero Olympic success. Yun rose to the occasion to capture the historic gold.

But the interest level waned over the ensuing years, and Yun said it was to be expected.

"That's really par for the course. People usually aren't interested in skeleton," Yun said, sounding slightly bitter. "Before PyeongChang, it would have been strange not to have generated excitement, because we were the host country."

Beijing will be Yun's third Olympics. He said his mindset is "a bit different" than in the past, without elaborating further.

"I want to take my best shot and have a good finish," Yun said.

(END)

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