PyeongChang speed skating medalist out to prove himself in Beijing

유지호 / 2022-01-28 16:44:55
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speed skater-Olympics
▲ Kim Min-seok of South Korea competes in the men's 500m race at the National Speed Skating Championships at Taeneung International Rink in Seoul on Jan. 27, 2022. (Yonhap)

▲ Kim Min-seok of South Korea takes a moment after finishing the men's 500m race at the National Speed Skating Championships at Taeneung International Rink in Seoul on Jan. 27, 2022. (Yonhap)

▲ Kim Min-seok of South Korea speaks to reporters after finishing the men's 1,500m race at the National Speed Skating Championships at Taeneung International Rink in Seoul on Jan. 28, 2022. (Yonhap)

speed skater-Olympics

PyeongChang speed skating medalist out to prove himself in Beijing

SEOUL, Jan. 28 (Yonhap) -- Competing in his first Winter Olympics as a teenager in 2018, speed skater Kim Min-seok came out of nowhere to grab two medals on the oval.

With a bronze in the men's 1,500 meters at the PyeongChang Winter Games, Kim, then 18, became the first Asian to win a medal in that distance. He also teamed up with Lee Seung-hoon and Chung Jae-won for silver in the men's team pursuit.

All three are going back to the Olympics this year in Beijing. With Lee still a force at age 33 and Chung emerging as the team's ace, Kim has been flying under the radar a bit.

And that's exactly the way he likes it.

"I surprised even myself with medals in PyeongChang, but I know I've definitely gotten better since then," Kim told reporters Friday after competing in the National Speed Skating Championships at Taeneung International Rink in Seoul. "I think it's time for me to prove myself once again. Obviously, I would love to win a gold medal, but it'd be nice to just reach the podium."

Kim earned his Olympic spots in the 1,000m and 1,500 and will be reunited with Lee and Chung for the team pursuit event.

Kim was the only South Korean to win a medal during this past International Skating Union (ISU) World Cup season. He was the 1,500m champion in the first leg and then added a bronze in the same distance at the following event. He ranked seventh in the World Cup standings.

"There are still a few days left until my first race (on Feb. 8) and I want to peak at the right time," Kim said. "I missed a lot of international events last season (because of the COVID-19 pandemic) but I think I've handled the situation pretty well."

Kim's 1,500m bronze was the first of seven medals that South Korea won in speed skating in 2018. And in Beijing, Kim will be the first South Korean to compete, as the country failed to win a spot in the women's 3,000m, men's 5,000m and women's 1,500m that take place before the men's 1,500m.

"I think I set the positive tone for the rest of the team in PyeongChang," Kim recalled. "If I can skate well out of the gate, then my teammates will pick things up from there."

Kim said he was also confident in the team pursuit race.

"In PyeongChang, Seung-hoon was the leader of our team, and Jae-won has taken some big steps, too," Kim said. "Seung-hoon may not be the same skater that he was four years ago, but Jae-won and I can more than fill that void."

(END)

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