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Glorious Moment in Barcelona Would be Revived in the Athens Olympics Again

Glorious Moment in Barcelona Would be Revived in the Athens Olympics Again

Posted August. 11, 2004 22:05,   


It begins with Seo Sun-hwa (22, Uljin County Office) and ends with Lee Bong-ju (34 Samsung Electronics).

After the first Olympic Games were held in 1896, 108 years have past, leaving the commencement of the 2004 Athens Olympics only a day away.

With the team’s sights set on winning 13 gold medals, Seo Sun-hwa and Lee Bong-ju are key players who are expected to lead the Korean team.

Seo Sun-hwa is expected to bring Korea its first gold on August 14, at 11 a.m. (Korean time: 5 p.m.) during the women’s shooting tournament.

Lee Bong-ju is expected to win the gold medal in the marathon, scheduled to be held on August 29 at 8:10 p.m. (Korean time: August 30, 2:10 a.m.) just before the closing ceremony. For this to happen, Lee Bong-ju will have to come in first at the Panathinaiko stadium where the first Olympic marathon was held, and bring home the 301st gold medal.

If Seo Sun-hwa were to win the first gold medal and Lee Bong-ju finish with the last gold medal, it would be the 1992 Barcelona Olympics all over again. Korea, at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, won the first gold medal in shooting (Yeo Gab-soon, Women’s Shooting) and the last one in the marathon (Hwang Young-jo).

Seo Sun-hwa, dubbed as the “new generation shooting beauty,” shot a perfect score of 400 points at the 2002 Sydney World Cup finals, both winning the tournament and establishing a new world record.

Even though she doesn’t do well during the games, there is nothing to be worried about. Cho Eun-yong (32, Uljin County Office) had also scored 400 points not only once, but twice, during Olympic team selections held in March.

Marathon veteran Lee Bong-ju (who has completed 31 marathons) is expected to wash away his 1996 Atlanta silver medal by replacing it with a gold medal in Athens. In order to do this, Lee Bong-ju will have to endure 250 meters in elevation changes, 35-degrees Celsius heat waves, and 70 percent humidity. It will certainly not be an easy task.

Circumstances as bad as these call for endurance rather than speed, and when you need endurance there is no one better than Lee Bong-ju.

Starting with the men’s soccer opening match against Greece on August 11 at 8:30 p.m. (Korean time: August 12, 2:30 a.m.), the 18 days of the Olympic Games and the schedule for Korea’s prospective gold medals are summarized in this chart.

The reason why there are more prospective gold medal winning days than anticipated gold medals is because the Korean Olympic Committee has anticipated only one of the two medals than can be won for certain events.

For example, there are four medals total that can be won in Archery, and although the Korean athletes are all gold medal candidates, only a total of two of the four possible gold medals have been anticipated to be won.

Hwan Soo Zang zangpabo@donga.com