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An Academic Forum for Marathoner Sohn Ki-jung

Posted May. 05, 2007 03:02,   


“Oh! A sad winner.”

The late Sohn Ki-jung let the world know the spirit of Koreans when he won the gold medal in the Berlin Olympic Games in 1936 when Korea was under Japanese rule. A study on his life will be released in an international symposium.

Yoo Yeon-mi, who is doing course work in sports sociology at the University of Illinois at Chicago, will release the marathon hero’s biography titled “Oh! A Sad Winner” at an international symposium to be held at the university.

In the symposium, which will be a large-scale convergence of various disciplines of social science, about 1,000 academics from 55 countries around the world will participate.

Yoo recollected Sohn’s life through various channels, including materials from the Sohn Ki-jung Foundation and interviews with his grandchild, Lee Jun-seung, and others.

The highlight of the study is said to be the reason that Sohn was sad even when he won the gold medal. Yoo said, “I just noticed that he was standing on the podium with his head low. He looked so sad. Based on this, I wanted to write a thesis on what role his race played in developing Korea’s identity through various historical materials.”

Yoo plans to write her dissertation on the marathon hero. He served as the symbolic figure of Korean nationalism under Japanese rule, of overcoming economic hardship in the Asian financial crisis, and will be another symbol to represent inter-Korean cooperation.