Without key teammate, veteran bobsledder not abandoning medal hopes in Beijing

유지호 / 2022-01-26 14:27:30
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▲ In this Reuters file photo from Jan. 2, 2022, the South Korean men's bobsleigh team of Won Yun-jong (R) and Kim Jin-su react following their race at the International Bobsleigh & Skeleton Federation World Cup in Sigulda, Latvia. (Yonhap)

▲ This photo provided by the Korea Bobsleigh & Skeleton Federation on Jan. 26, 2022, shows South Korean bobsleigh pilot Won Yun-jong. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)


Without key teammate, veteran bobsledder not abandoning medal hopes in Beijing

By Yoo Jee-ho

SEOUL, Jan. 26 (Yonhap) -- South Korean bobsleigh pilot Won Yun-jong will be competing at his third Winter Olympics in Beijing next month, but for the first time, will do so without his longtime brakeman, Seo Young-woo.

The two have been competing together since 2013 and were part of the silver medal-winning four-man team at the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics at home. But Seo has been bitten hard by the injury bug this season. He missed the start of the International Bobsleigh & Skeleton Federation (IBSF) World Cup season with a shoulder injury. He returned for the latter portion of the campaign but then he recently suffered an ankle injury that will keep him out of the Feb. 4-20 Beijing Winter Olympics.

Though Seo will be sorely missed, Won said his responsibility doesn't change.

"As an athlete, it is up to me to do the best I can and try to produce the best possible results," Won said during an online press conference Wednesday. "We will all go do our best for Seo Young-woo too. It's a shame he won't be there with us because we were expecting some big things together. I don't want to say it'll be impossible (to win a medal). We'll give this our best shot and let the results take care of themselves."

Won will be competing in both the two-man and four-man races. During the World Cup season, Won's team hovered around the top 15 early on without Seo. And with the veteran brakeman back, they reached a season-high 10th in the final race on Jan. 16.

The in-season progress was more dramatic for the two-man team, where Won partnered with Kim Jin-su and then Kim Hyeong-geun. After a shaky start, which was attributed to Won's trouble adjusting to his new sled, the team had four consecutive top-10 finishes to wrap up the season.

"We had a lot of ups and downs, but we battled through adversity," Won said. "We will try not to have any regrets at the end of the Olympics. We've been doing a lot of work, trying to figure out ways to give us the optimal outcome."


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