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A Promising Player for 2004 Athens

Posted February. 05, 2004 23:41,   


The silver medalist of the parallel bar in the 2000 Sydney Olympics, Lee Joo-hyung, dreams of winning the first gold medal in Korean gymnastic history.

Yeo Hong-chul (vaulting horse) ended up with a silver medal in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, and Lee Joo-hyung (parallel bars) was an inch short of taking the gold medal, behind by only 0.013 points in the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

Lee commented, “Gymnastics seem to be less popular these days. A gold medal should come out in gymnastics in order to make an opportunity to prosper.”

Jo Sung-min(28·Jun-Book Provincial Office) is spotlighted to fulfill the dreams of coach Lee Joo-hyung in the 2004 Athens Olympics. His category, just like Coach Lee, is the parallel bars.

Jo Sung-min, who stands 1.62m and 57kg, received limelight in the world championships in Anaheim, U.S.A. as he passed the preliminary rounds second place in the parallel bars. In the final rounds, he ranked fifth place and with no medals, but his level of performance in the preliminary rounds was world class.

Jo Sung-min is the only reason that the Korean Sports Council hopes for one gold medal in gymnastics in the 2004 Athens Olympics.

Coach Lee, complimenting Jo, commented, “Jo holds merit because he catches moves really fast and makes it his own. He also has good strength and fitness, and his performance is top-notch.”

Jo Sung-min is currently viewed as the predecessor of Coach Lee and stands at the top in the parallel bars. But he struggled once with misfortune.

With a score of 9.70 (fifth seed) in the preliminary rounds of the 2000 Sydney Olympics, he had an easy route to the final round contending with eight players, but at the time his compatriots, Lee Joo-hyung(9.78 points) and Jung Jin-soo (9.737·presently national coach), overshadowed Jo with higher scores as Jo failed to advance to the final rounds. In any likelihood, no more than three players in any country can participate in the final rounds in any category.

The level of performance of the players in the final rounds is neck-to-neck so if Jo had advanced to the final rounds, he would have to outscore the expectations.

The specialty Jo Sung-min is preparing for at the Athens Olympics is the so-called “Posita turn.” Coach Lee explained, “It is an extraordinary technique to go upside down backwards while balancing with two arms and turning 360 degrees.”

Coach Lee, who acquired a gold medal in the 1999 Tenzin World Championships and a silver in the 2000 Sydney Olympics, stood on top of the world at the time with his brilliantly implemented technique called “Morse Piked” (A move to flip in the air twice and putting ones shoulders on the parallel bar with ones knees unfolded.)

Coach Lee commented, “There are only three or four players in the world that can perform ‘Posita turn.’ He will be able to do the job if he takes it well.”

Jo Sung-min confidently said, “I’ll have a medal field if I don’t make mistakes and perform my best.”