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[Opinion] Gangwon Province, the Birthplace of Weightlifters

[Opinion] Gangwon Province, the Birthplace of Weightlifters

Posted August. 19, 2008 07:39,   


Eight-time Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps says training is like savings, adding he thinks he saved a lot over the past four years. His success was due to his tireless training. Jerry Royster, manager of the Korean pro baseball team Lotte Giants, emphasizes an athlete’s “make-up” ability, or the capability to win a competition by any means necessary. An athlete who is especially strong in a tight competition is excellent in make-up.

Training and mental ability are not enough. A thorough analysis of an opponent is necessary. The 17th-century Japanese swordsman Miyamoto Musashi won all of his 60 duals with the best swordsmen. When asked about his secret, he said he fought duals in which he could win. In other words, he never fought an opponent he could not beat. When he was asked to fight, he sneaked into his opponent’s place and analyzed his weak points and accepted only after he felt confident.

Luck matters in sports. Prime examples are Jin Jong-oh, who won the gold medal by two 10ths of a second in shooting, and Sa Jae-hyouk, who won the gold medal in weightlifting because he was lighter though he lifted the same weight with the silver medalist. Believing in fortune may be superstitious but history shows that when a nation is on a lucky streak, even a mistake can bring benefits. In the opposite case, however, nothing can prevent bad luck. No wonder that fortunate fighters are sent to important battles.

The secret of success in today’s sports, however, is discovering talented athletes and training them systematically. Other factors such as training, mental ability, analysis and luck come next. Korean weightlifters from Gangwon Province have won two golds and one silver in the Beijing Olympics. They are Jang Mi-ran, Sa and Yoon Jin-hee. Finding potential athletes and training them from the ground up have made Gangwon strong in weightlifting. Sports are attractive because the saying “You reap as you sow” is so fitting.

Editorial Writer Hong Chan-sik (chansik@donga.com)