Go to contents

Support Needed for Unpopular Sports Events

Posted August. 31, 2004 22:06,   


Having won nine gold, 12 silver, and eight bronze medals at the 2004 Athens Olympics, ranking South Korea among the top 10 Olympic medal-winning countries in over eight years, the triumphant South Korean delegation returned home via Incheon International Airport aboard an Asiana Airlines chartered flight on August 31.

Some notable athletes who arrived on this day included Moon Dae-sung (Samsung S1), who won the gold during the Men’s 80kg Taekwondo finals by delivering a superb left kick to his opponent, and Jung Jee-hyun (Korea National Sport University), who won a surprise gold medal in men’s Greco-Roman wrestling.

Park Sung-hyun (Jeonbuk Provincial Government), who won both the women’s individual and team archery gold medals, her teammates Yun Mee-jin (Kyunghee University) and Lee Sung-jin (Chonbuk Provincial Government), Yang Tae-yung (Kyungbook Sports Council) who lost his gold medal during the controversial misjudged men’s gymnastics final, and a total of 163 athletes and coaches who participated in 11 events, along with their staff, totaling 313 members, also returned home.

Eleven members of the Korean delegation, including Moon Dae-sung, Park Sung-hyun, and Jung Jee-hyun, then proceeded with an official press conference in the Incheon Airport second floor lounge. They were joined by Lee Won-hee (Korea Racing Association), Yoo Sung-min (Samsung Life Insurance Company), Jang Mee-ran (Wonju City Hall), and Lee Bo-na (Korea Armed Forces Athletic Corps), who all arrived early on August 26 with the first wave of returning Korean delegates.

Moon Dae-sung said, “Most of the medals won at the Olympics were from unpopular events, and only undivided attention and support from our country’s citizens will insure success in the future.”

Lee Sang-eun, a key offensive player of the women’s handball team, said, “While reading the newspaper on the plane, I was surprised that an article on handball would make the front page. I felt the love and appreciation of our nation’s citizens, and I hope that this support and appreciation will endure.”

Soon-Il Kwon stt77@donga.com