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Golden Stubbornness for Gold Medal Results

Posted January. 23, 2008 07:38,   


They’ve met superstars like Tiger Woods (golf), Thierry Henry (soccer), Maria Sharapova (tennis), and Paris Hilton (fashion model). But they haven’t passed through the gates of the Korea National Taeneung Athletic Training Center.

The producers of the popular MBC TV show “Infinite Challenge” recently asked permission to shoot an episode within the center, which was declined by the center due to the potential negative effect it would have on the training of members of national athletic teams.

The center’s chief managing officer Erisa Lee denied the request, saying, “We do not allow anyone to disturb our training regimen. The same policy applies to the TV program.”

○ Unreasonable Request by Infinite Challenge

According to a press release yesterday, producers of the show first raised the idea early last month. The TV show commands wide popularity among domestic TV viewers. Upon learning about the idea, the training center’s officials gently declined the offer.

The TV crew including the six stars of the show planned to stay for six days at the center, participating with national athletes in their training sessions. The crew would amount to dozens of people in total.

An official with the center, on the condition of anonymity, said, “The presence of 50-plus stars and staff members would undoubtedly distract our players. The plan was unreasonable from the start.”

Ever since the rejection, the TV station has made repeated requests but to no avail. Though news organizations reported that the TV program would shoot an episode in the center, the center refused to budge.

To satisfy public curiosity, the center allows interviews and shooting of short clips of players training at the center. But the training center’s rules forbid the shooting of a TV program within the premises for entertainment purposes.

Another MBC show asked for the same permission at around the same time, which was also declined. Instead, the show moved the venue to the Korea National Sport University, featuring some athletic stars like 2004 Athens Olympic gold medalist wrestler Jeong Ji-hyeon.

Another center official explained, “The coach of each national team determines in his or her discretion whether to allow a team member to appear on TV.”

○ Undisturbed Training Comes Before Anything Else

Managing officer Lee made clear that she would not allow exceptions. With the 2008 Beijing Olympics less than 200 days away, what really matters to her is to hone the athletes to their best conditions.

“We are cooperating to a degree. But if the crew of Infinite Challenge wants to literally live among the athletes and shoot an episode, it will disturb their training. Since we’ve made our position clear, they have been playing a public affairs game. I am very displeased with that.”

Lee also asked for cooperation and understanding, saying, “It’s hard to determine which show is OK, and which one is not. Please help us train our athletes the best we can.”