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New Speed-Skating Champ Sees His Prime in Next Olympics

Posted March. 15, 2007 07:04,   


“At first, my goal was to win a medal. I had a lucky feeling ahead of the second race. I was able to skate with confidence and less strain since the records of the previous skaters were not that good. I think that’s how I got a good result.”

Lee Kang-seok (22, Uijeongbu City) flew back home on March 14, after setting a new 500m world record of 34.25 seconds to win the gold medal at the World Single Distances Speed Skating Championships.

Casually dressed in a pair of jeans, yellow T-shirt, and a black jacket, Lee embraced his mother Noh Jeong-hee as soon as he passed the arrivals gate with his teammates. Asked about the moment when he realized he broke the record, he said, “I got goosebumps all over as I looked up at the scoreboard right after I crossed the finish line. I was delighted that I became the fastest person in the world,” Lee said. “I was also congratulated by Joji Kato (Japan) who had been holding the previous record. He didn’t seem so happy, though,” he added, smiling.

Questioned about his prospects for the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games, he answered in a roundabout way, saying, “Looking at foreign players or my senior teammate Lee Gyu-hyeok, it seems that a skater’s heyday comes after the mid-20s. I think mine will be about the time when the Vancouver games are to be held.”

Lee joined the team of Uijeongbu City after graduating from Korea National Sport University this year. “As the season is over now, I will take some good rest for a month to build myself up. Then I will go to the Taereung Training Center in May and prepare for next season.”